Brooks ready to run with opportunity

Published 9:01 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2012

There’s little debate that National Signing Day, the day on which high school athletes can sign letters of intent to colleges, captures the attention of sports fans all across the nation.

But while most of the attention falls to football stars, there are also impressive athletes right down the street like cross country star Sharlie Brooks.

A student of Charles Henderson High School, Brooks recently signed her letter of intent to the University of West Alabama, and is only one of three athletes from the school to do so alongside football player DeQuante Shockley and baseball player Jalin Lawson.

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“It’s really very exciting and a wonderful opportunity,” Brooks said. “I’ve been running all through high school and have really wanted a scholarship so I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”

Brooks began running competitively in the 8th grade and in her time in high school has never failed to appear at the state tournament, placing as high as 15th overall in 2009.

Brooks is also an avid runner outside of school, and joins a local running group on the square in downtown Troy three days a week at 4:45 a.m. to practice.

“For cross country it’s about getting my time down and seeing what I can do,” she said. “But I’m looking forward to meeting new friends and seeing new things it’s just something I’ve really looked forward to.”

Brooks is aware that a move to college means a step up in the level of competition, and has worked hard to keep her training routine up as well as spend some time weight training.

I think she’s ready,” Charles Henderson track coach Steve Haug said. “She’s really competitive and has spent the last summer and fall looking at schools and working on getting better every day. There’s no doubt that she can do what she wants, she’s a true athlete and very dedicated.”

Although running is the reason that Brooks is heading to West Alabama, it’s not the only focus of her future.

She plans to go through the schools pre-vet program and enroll in veterinary school after her time on the track is over, and is ready for whatever major suits that goal.

Even though cross country and competitive running in general is a bit of a one-person sport, Brooks is thankful to those who have helped get her to this point.

“It’s about the support from my family and coach,” she said. “You have to have an attitude to compete and be able to work and have a positive attitude. I just want to thank my family and parents and coach Steve for being there and always giving me their support.”