Hank Pretty On Top signs on to RMC cross-country team

Thursday, February 28, 2019
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Photo by Andrew Turck

Lodge Grass High School senior Hank Pretty On Top signs on as a member of the Rocky Mountain College cross-country team as his brother Woodrow looks on. According to RMC Head Cross-country Coach Mike McLean, Hank excels both as an athlete and a student.

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Photo by Andrew Turck

Hank Pretty On Top (right) listens to a praise song for him, performed by local elder Jerome White Hip (left) during the signing ceremony,

Dozens of students filled the Lodge Grass High School gymnasium bleachers on Wednesday, Feb. 20 to support Hank Pretty On Top as he signed on as a member of the Rocky Mountain College cross-country team. In addition to his placement with the Billings college’s Battlin’ Bears, he also earned $44,000 through the Deans Scholarship to RMC.

His family and mentors were accompanied to the signing by RMC Head Cross-country Coach Mike McLean and Track Coach Steve McMorris.

Cheering, drumming and clapping accompanied the announcement for the signing, delivered by the school Athletic Director Dee Pretty On Top, who also happened to be Hank’s father. His son originally had wanted to play football, Dee said, but turned toward running to avoid the risk of concussions.

“As a coach of the basketball and cross-country teams, I was proud to be a part of his life,” Dee said to the audience. “I have witnessed his growth as an individual, as an athlete.

“I hope that you younger kids who ran with him this past year can get inspiration from this, because life goes beyond high school, beyond these walls, beyond this reservation.”

Hank has been competing in cross-country since sixth grade and now runs about seven to eight miles per day for practice. McLean said he’s watched him perform well in races and, as an added bonus, “he’s a good student.”

“Academics are important in college,” McLean said. “He’s a hard worker [and] that’s what we’re looking for.”

Hank will be one of three competitors from Lodge Grass on the RMC cross-country team, McLean said, along with twin sisters Mei-Li and Guan-Yin Stevens. In 2017, Mei-Li and Guan-Yin were Hardin High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian respectively.

According to Hank, he is excited to be joining the RMC team in August 2019, and will be studying health and human performance.

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