Monday, April 11, 2011
Recruiting: Virginia All-State Sprinter Qualitra Brown
King’s Fork High’s Qualitra Brown, an all-state performer, will continue her track career at Villanova.
By Larry Rubama
April 12, 2011
Qualitra Brown admits she's not the most talented athlete in the state.
"But I'm OK with that," the King's Fork senior said. "I'm not an athlete with natural talent so I have to work a little harder than most."
She refuses to let anyone outwork her, and that attitude has helped her become one of the top sprinters and long jumpers in Virginia. It also helped her earn a scholarship to Villanova.
Brown's introduction to the sport was by accident. Early in her high school career, she missed her bus after school and as she waited for a ride, she and former all-state runner Keith Ricks started playing around. It eventually led to both running. Ricks immediately realized Brown's impressive speed and suggested she come out for the indoor track team.
Brown, a former cheerleader, agreed, but didn't last long. She returned a few months later for the outdoor season.
Ricks, now a standout at Virginia Tech, and Brown became good friends. During that time, he has given her advice, including how to handle tough competition.
"Sometimes I get a little nervous when I get in heats with certain people," Brown said. "But he always tells me to race against the clock and forget about who is on the side of me."
The advice has worked. Brown earned all-state honors. She placed fifth in the 400 meters at the 2010 Group AAA state outdoor meet. She also placed eighth in the 500 at the state indoor meet this past winter.
An aversion to losing is one way Brown stays motivated. King's Fork coach Tony Johnson found another way.
"We'll look at MileStat(.com) and tell her, 'You are ranked in the state in three or four events but you're not getting any publicity. What are you going to do about it?' " he said. "And she goes out there on the track each time and tries to prove a point."
Assistant coach Kisha Ricks said what impresses her about Brown is her tenacity and the way she challenges herself.
"I'm proud of the way she continues to work hard every day," said Ricks, who is Keith Ricks' older sister. "
She's already signed and has a scholarship but she's still out there working hard. She also wants to make sure the underclassmen understand that they have to do the same thing, too."
Brown would like nothing more than to finish her career with a state title.
"I think if that was to happen, I would fall to my knees and thank God," said Brown, who maintains a 3.5 grade-point average and plans to major in political science in college. "It would be a great feeling and I know I can get do it."