Verdigris’ Eli Runyan – Character Counts Presented by Advanced Orthopedics of Oklahoma

By Chad Waters

Sports have been a part of Eli Runyan’s life as far back as he can remember.

Runyan, a senior on the Verdigris football team, has been playing football for nine years. Runyan was a big part the Cardinals playoff appearance last season, ending a two-year streak of missing the postseason. Runyan is the team’s defensive end and returns with a solid senior class to battle it out one last season with a group and a game he truly loves.

“Football has been my life,” Runyan said. “Nothing can compare to the feeling of putting on the Verdigris uniform and going to war with 10 other men. In my opinion, football is one of the truest tests of character. You have to hold yourself accountable and your teammates because if you don’t do that, then you can’t win games. Without football, I doubt I would be the man I am today, and I owe the sport everything.”

The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder also plays guard or tackle on the Cardinal offense, but Runyan is adding another sport to his resume as he plans to join the golf team in the spring. Outside of athletics, Runyan is the Vice President of his class, which will be his fourth year holding that position. He is also an active member of the Student Council.

Although sports are a big Runyan’s life, service has always been just as important.

“I am fairly involved with my church, and every spring break I am blessed with the opportunity to go serve in different places around the country and the world,” Runyan said.

During his junior year, Runyan and his friend and teammate Kyle Pickens went to Duncans, Jamaica, to put on a vacation bible school each morning.

“In the afternoon, we went to a church where we would mix concrete by hand and helped build an addition to house a family on the church property,” Runyan said. “This trip will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Runyan is currently attending Northeastern Technology Center, where he plans to be licensed as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Upon graduation, Runyan plans to attend a university to major in nursing and eventually become a nurse practitioner. He is unsure exactly where he wants to attend college because he’s looking to continue his passion on the football field as well as major in nursing.

“I want to enter the workforce as an RN and help as many people as I can,” Runyan said. “Service has always been a huge part of my life.”