Tragedy struck the small community of Hatton this past week when an automobile accident claimed the life of Kagen Sutton.
The loss of Sutton meant that the Hornets lost one of their most decorated cross country runners.
Sutton, a recent grad, made a name for himself by being one of the top runners for one of the top cross country programs in the state.
Head coach Brandon Barringer says the former star runner will always be remembered as a “warrior.”
“I’ve been coaching for a long time and in that time I’ve had probably three or four runners I would consider warriors,” Barringer said. “He was definitely one of them.”
Sutton racked up plenty of accolades in his time at Hatton. He finished as an All State runner in each of the past three seasons, placing in the top 10 in each race and having a high finish of third. He helped lead his team to four top five finishes in the AHSAA state meet, twice helping them reach as high as third.
His drive to be the best was hard to match by anybody.
“He pushed himself harder than anybody I know,” Barringer said. “He was always keeping track and researching exactly what he had to do to win every race. There wasn’t a time that he wasn’t giving it all he had.”
Unfortunately, Hatton is not strangers to this type of heartbreak. The small community has been ravaged by tragedy more than once in recent years.
“It’s tough. Our cross country team has lost three runners in the last six or seven years,” said Barringer. “Life is short, so you have to live it to the fullest.”
Despite his immense success at Hatton, it was his leadership skills that Barringer loved more than anything.
“He was a very good leader,” he said. “In practice he’d finish first then run all the way back and run with the person in the back. When he’d finish a race he’d run back and cheer on his teammates.”
He hopes that those qualities will be what people remember most about his time at Hatton.
“Kagen always saw the potential in people and I hope everyone remembers what an encourager he was and the type of leader he was.”