AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Outfielder Heston Kjerstad exploded on the scene two years ago for the Arkansas Razorbacks during their run to the College World Series, but the story of the highest-ever drafted baseball player from the High Plains started years before that.
Growing up, Kjerstad had three older siblings, all great athletes, and while at Randall High School, Heston followed his two older brothers in being a star player for some dominant Raiders’ baseball teams.
“That made my job really easy,” said Cory Hamilton, Heston’s former high school baseball coach at Randall. “For ten years here, I wrote the name Kjerstad into the lineup, every time. I mean you talk about taking pressure off of coaches.”
Heston says he built some lifelong friendships on those raider teams.
“There was a group of about ten of us that had played baseball together since 7th or 8th grade,” said the former Raider. “So we were all best friends, we were able to play through high school together and all that. The whole time it was a blast for me.”
Coach Hamilton still raves about Kjerstad’s work ethic.
“I can’t think of a time when I was around Heston that he didn’t try his best,” he said.
Hamilton still firmly believes Kjerstad will be able to handle the pressure of being a pro, “He didn’t have nearly as much adversity in high school as he did college level or even the pro ball level, but coming from adversity, nobody challenges Heston more than he challenges himself.”
As for Randall High School as a whole, officials say this type of success from Kjerstad is contagious to current and future students at the school.
Randall’s principal, Steven Singleton said, “It’s not about which profession you do, but it’s about being the best at what you can do, finding that within. Heston exemplifies that.”