VAN ALSTYNE — When Evan McQuirk needs a reminder of where to focus his efforts going forward, the crowning achievement of his high school career is never far away.

VAN ALSTYNE — When Evan McQuirk needs a reminder of where to focus his efforts going forward, the crowning achievement of his high school career is never far away.


"I have my medal hanging by my bed as a motivation to know it’s about the hard work," McQuirk said.


All of the efforts leading to this point in his career saw McQuirk sign his national letter of intent on Wednesday to run for Oklahoma Christian.


He chose the Eagles over Oklahoma Baptist and Stephen F. Austin.


"The recruiting process started really in the middle of the season. My dad and I went on some college visits and when we went to Oklahoma Christian it felt like home," McQuirk said. "I’ll be doing cross country, indoor and outdoors track. The coaches will put me in the race they think I will do best."


McQuirk captured the Class 2A state cross country championship in November with a time of 16:03.79 — nearly seven seconds ahead of East Bernard’s Wyatt Kieler and 10 seconds ahead of Dilley’s James Rodriguez.


He entered with the top qualifying time after winning the Region II title and became the third Texoma male athlete to win a state cross-country title, joining Anna’s Cody Hughes in 2006 and Trenton’s Luis Verde in 1991. It was the sixth individual state championship for an area athlete in cross-country.


"It was awesome at the moment after that race," he said. "I still think about it but my focus isn’t on the past."


The title came a year after McQuirk finished 46th in state when he ran with a stress fracture in his left foot.


"Since I was injured, I was training with a chip on my shoulder. I don’t want to say I caught people by surprise," McQuirk said.


McQuirk will look to return to the state track and field meet in May. As a junior he finished seventh in the 1,600 with a time of 4:29.65 after receiving a wild-card entry.


"Going into this track season, the target on my back is bigger," McQuirk said. "I’m going to do my best, train hard and whatever happens, happens."


Oklahoma Christian has spent the last two years competing in the National Christian College Athletic Association and finished fourth at the national meet this past season. The program captured the NAIA national championship in 2011, the first by the program and best finish since fifth place in 1976, before switching to the NCCAA and winning the 2012 national title.


The Eagles have produced 13 all-America runners since 2007.


"Evan had a great cross country season last fall and based on his strength could be a factor for us next year," Oklahoma Christian coach Wade Miller said in a statement. "I anticipate him being able to help out on the track as well. I think he will mesh well with the group we have and I’m looking forward to working with him."