PAOLA – Cutter Meade was born to run at Baker University.
Meade, a Paola Panther senior, is heading to where it all began. His parents Justin and Jessica met on campus. They met before classes even started, running into each other at freshman orientation.
Justin played football at Baker University. Jessica ran cross country and track and field.
Cutter followed in both of their footsteps as a dual athlete for the Paola Panthers, running cross country and playing football. He is also a member of the Panther track program.
Meade signed a national letter of intent to run cross country and track and field at Baker University, surrounded by friends and family.
“It is really cool to be going to the same college where my parents went,” Meade said. “My entire life they wanted me to go there. Then, on my visit, I knew this was the place for me.
“It was really cool to see all the people I have grown up with my whole life show up to support and cheer me on,” he said. “It meant the world to me.”
Justin and Jessica were both four-year letter winners at Baker University. They dated their entire time in college and were married less than a month after graduating.
Jessica found a couple of old pictures for Cutter as a young Baker University and track and field fan. One was a 4-month-old baby picture of him with his Baker University outfit on holding a plastic football. The other was a picture of him when he was 5 months old, holding a relay baton while at a track meet when Jessica coached at Shawnee Mission North.
Now the couple gets to sit back and cheer as their son, Cutter, embarks on his own journey at Baker University.
“It is very special and amazing for us to see Cutter go to Baker University where we met, competed in sports, and got married,” Justin Meade said. “When we were younger, we used to talk about how cool it would be if our kids went to the same college and played sports where we graduated from. It was mostly us daydreaming about the future, and we never thought it would actually happen.
“It is going to be fun for us to re-live our college experience there again through Cutter,” he said. “We love that he is a double legacy to both Baker University and to Baker’s cross country and track and field programs. Also, since we ended up settling down in Paola where Cutter will be only 30 minutes from us at Baker, makes it even more special as we will get to see him often and watch him compete.”
Cutter Meade was a second-team selection on the Tri-County Spotlight Cross Country Team. He placed 15th in the De Soto Invitational with a season-best time of 18:51. Meade was 17th in the regional meet.
During the fall, Meade also suited up for the Paola Panther football team. Meade played running back and linebacker. He was a fall homecoming king candidate.
Meade was a state qualifier in track and field, competing in the 800- and 1,600-meter relays.
“It is a really cool feeling that I am one of the selected few who get to go play on the next level,” Meade said. “Not a lot of people can say that. I knew when deciding for a college that I wanted a small college, and the feel Baker had when I first walked on campus was when I knew it is the place for me.”
Meade played football all four years for the Paola Panthers. He started running cross country his sophomore year when coaches said there was a way he could run cross country and play football. He has competed in track and field since he was in seventh grade.
Meade was recruited by Baker University to run cross country and compete in middle distance events in track.
Meade plans to major in accounting.
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