Durant track team honors fallen teammate en route to a state title

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 10:09 AM CDT
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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - Just one year ago, the community of Durant was devastated by a car crash that killed four teenagers.

However, even after the tragedy, one of those students was still able to help four members of the Durant High School track team win a state title this year.

“It was just like he was there with us every time we carried the baton,” said junior Dawson Bowman.

The four runners of the Durant boy’s 4 x 800 meter relay team say their teammate Kaleb Foster liked to cut up.

“We went to Carl Albert for a cross-country meet and Kaleb was running the JV race and he had something in his mouth, he was blowing a duck call,” said senior Dawson Reed.

“He always went out really fast. That’s the most Kaleb Foster thing I could think of, he always went out super fast,” said sophomore Brycen Ward.

At the same time, Kaleb was a fierce competitor.

Not only was he on the Lions 4 x 800 team that finished 11th in the 2019 state track meet, Kaleb placed in the top 10 in the state of Oklahoma in the 110 meter hurdles.

“I go out here to run on the track, and Kaleb’s already out here practicing on his own,” said Reed.

“It was fun to watch him because he gave it everything he got,” said Bowman.

But last May tragedy struck, when Kaleb, along with Jack Sarver, Hunter Ford, and Fernando Flores were killed in a car crash when their car was hit by a drunk driver.

“It hit me like a train, its something you never expect to hear or want to hear,” said Bowman.

Nearly a year after his death, Kaleb’s teammates chose to honor him in a unique way.

Senior Alfonso Barraza kept Kaleb’s old baton in his running bag and decided to use it in their track meets.

“It was something personal I wanted to keep myself, but I thought that was selfish because I wasn’t the only one who lost a friend, it was everybody,” said Barraza.

The baton became a good luck charm.

“If he was here, I knew he would give it his all, because that’s what I tried to do,” said Reed.

“Just having that as an extra boost, knowing what we’re there for,” said Bowman.

They also added a personal touch.

“I put the K-F (on the baton) before regionals and state, at that point it was all about Kaleb,” said Barraza.

And during the last meet of the season, they had their eyes set on something bigger than the state title.

“Five minutes before we got on the line, I told the dudes, ‘remember who we’re running for’,” said Ward.

The four capped off a storybook season, earning the top place on the podium.

“I teared up, they teared up, it was like ‘yo, we did this for Kaleb’,” said Barraza.

“It was too good to be true type of thing,” said Bowman.

In the end, you could say the Durant boys *5 by 8 team were the best in the state.

“I feel like us going out there and winning the 4x8 is making up for what he would have won,” said Reed.

As for that baton, the four decided to give it back to Kaleb’s family, as a reminder of what he meant to them.

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