Bayshore senior Canaan Meester-Kitterman capped off his final cross country season with a sixth place showing at the state meet. Recently, he announced he will head north to Savannah and run for Savannah College of Art & Design where he will be joined by former Florida standout Ace Brown. See what Kitterman has to say about his decision and his goals for the upcoming track and field season.
What was the recruiting process like?
It was fun. I visited schools in DI, DII, and NAIA. The degrees that the school offered was most important to me, but I also wanted a program that had men's cross country and track teams. That was a must. Pretty much all of the coaches and athletes I met were great. That was probably the hardest thing about recruiting was meeting athletes you can totally imagine yourself being teammates with and liking the coaches, but knowing you will only be saying yes to one team and college.
Where else did you consider?
I know I want to study game design so that helped to narrow things down; making a list of the schools that offered degrees related to that. After taking a few visits I was pretty sure I wanted a blend of both the technical and creative side of game design. I was also pretty sure I would like it better at a college with smaller classes. Shawnee State University, SCAD, and FSC were the top three schools I narrowed it down to. They all offered degrees I was interested in that matched what I was looking for and all three had great coaches, teams, and campuses. In January, I took overnight visits on each of the campuses where I went on runs with the teams and experienced what it might be like to go there
What sold you on SCAD?
The interactive game design program at SCAD was probably one of the biggest attractions to me. SCAD's game design program ranks in the top ten nationally. Students get to work with cutting edge technology and it was impressive when I toured. SCAD puts emphasis on networking and internships which is also important in the industry. Coach Reagan was another big reason for me choosing SCAD. He never made me feel pressured but I felt like he was really interested in coaching me and that he believed in my potential. He was super supportive during the process telling me to check out my options and find which ever was the best fit for me. Also, Savannah College of Art and Design is unique because the downtown historic district is the campus. The college restores historic buildings all over downtown and then uses them for classrooms, the library, dorms, student center, etc. They keep getting more of these old buildings and turn them into student spaces. It is totally different then any of the other college campuses I saw. The beach is still pretty close which makes me happy, there's tons of open space and parks, and there's always something going on. Savannah is a really cool city.
Former Fort Myers standout Ace Brown chose SCAD last year and is finishing up his freshman year. Talk about the relationship you have with him and how that played a role?
Well, me and Ace only really ever knew each other because we were both in 3A and would see each other at races where he would usually kick my butt. I respected him as a runner because he was crazy fast, but I never really knew him. My junior year I jumped on the bus from Fort Myers High School to Foot Locker South, and I got to know him a little better on that trip. He's outgoing and a cool person and we are both a little spastic and talk a lot, so we got along pretty good.
It's kinda funny because I never asked him the college's he was looking at, but when I heard he signed with SCAD last February I was excited.I already knew SCAD offered men's cross country and track AND an interactive game design program. I really didn't know much else about SCAD, but I knew I wanted to check it out. It was exciting to hear that a talented Florida kid had signed to go there. It was a cool thought to think we could end up as college teammates, I saw it as a bonus.I visited Savannah College of Art and Design the first time this past July on my way back from the USATF JO and I loved it. I met with Coach Reagan, took a campus tour, and was really impressed by the game design program. Pretty much every college visit after that was being compared to SCAD.
What are you looking forward to most about being a Bee?
I'm really excited about my future team and coach. The women's team made it to nationals last year and the men's team had individuals advance, so I am looking forward for being on the men's team the year we make it to nationals. I hope I can contribute to the team in an important way. I know that the Bees are going to continue to grow. I'm excited to be a part of that and I'm looking forward to finding my potential as a college runner.
Coach Reagan came down for your signing what did it mean to you to have him there?
That was very cool. It was great to have him there to meet some of the people who have supported me in high school. It's the kind of person he is, I think he just really cares. I think he's the kind of coach who is committed to seeing his athletes succeed athletically but also academically. I feel fortunate that he is going to be my coach.
You've had a good start to 2014. What are your goals for the rest of the year and beyond?
Well, I'm starting to wonder if sharing exactly what my goals are is some kind of a jinx or something, kind of like telling what your wish is before it comes true. Without giving you times my main goals are to PR in the 1600, 3200 and maybe 800. I also want to advance to states for the first time in track and hopefully make top five in the 1600 and maybe even the 3200. That would be an amazing finish to high school.