For Meadowbrook seniors and track team members Romane Dorrel and Ciarra Morris, getting it done on the track is simply not enough. It’s definitely about being well-rounded.
“My parents have always said, ‘You can be great at sports,’” said Morris. “‘But only one percent of everyone makes it to the pros, so you’ve got to be doing well in another area.’”
Both students have a passion for doing well in the classroom; Dorrel and Morris boast a 3.6 and a 3.88 GPA, respectively. Both have been accepted to college, and both are on the fast track to success.
“I don’t have them in my classes, but I can tell you the reports I get from other teachers are very good,” said Meadowbrook track coach Rickey Brown. “They are exceptional students in the classroom, both in the IB program and honors students; Romane has been accepted to Hampton and Ciarra accepted a scholarship at JMU.”
Whenever there are students excelling in both areas, Brown hopes that other students will catch on.
“It’s sort of like that old statement, ‘Monkey see monkey do,’” said Brown. “Ciarra and Romane know that they lead by example and have really accepted that leadership role on the team.”
Talking to both of these athletes, one finds them to be humble, well-spoken and prepared for the challenges ahead of them.
Dorrel is still considering where he would like to attend college. He has been accepted to Hampton and contacted by Norfolk State and North Carolina A&T.
“If I had to pick now, I’d say Hampton,” said Dorrel. “But I really do think Norfolk State has a really good track program, and I’m waiting to hear back from them. I want to go as far as I can with running.”
For Dorrel, running, a sport he has competed in since age 8, is almost second nature. The senior is a native of Jamaica, where the competition was intense. He is in his second year at Meadowbrook.
“I’ve been running track for 10 years,” said Dorrel. “I just used to be so fast when we were playing outside. I’m Jamaican, so everything you do is running, it’s just fun.”
After his first few competitions, his parents were quite supportive of his running, and allowed him to compete whenever possible. They also talked about the importance of academics.
“From the start, it’s been my parents encouraging me to do well in academics,” said Dorrel. “I’ve been interested in track and been running since the second grade, and I really fell in love with it after competing those first few times.”
On the girls’ side, Morris is also excelling in both areas. She’ll be wearing the purple and gold of the JMU Dukes next year, and she plans to major in kinesiology while pursing physical therapy.
“Getting a college scholarship was really my goal,” said Morris. “I’m really glad I could accomplish that.”
Morris is a leader in more ways than one; as the only girls’ senior on Meadowbrook’s team, participating in the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes, the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay, and the high jump, Morris has many eyes watching her. She’s taken the leadership role in stride.
“Many people are surprised my GPA is so high,” said Morris. “I just work hard; when you come home from practice you might be tired of a couple hours of studying isn’t going to hurt.”
Teammates and friends Torie Cunningham and Angela Harris, who are juniors, are approaching college soon, and Morris hopes that they can stay focused and get it done.
“Torie and Angela have a lot of potential,” said Morris. “I hope they continue to work hard and work to achieve their goals when things get tough.”
This year, Morris had been nursing an injury, but is hoping to get in shape for states, where her goal is to improve on last year’s stellar performance, where the 4 x 100 relay team placed third.
“I was really proud of the team,” said Morris. “I love doing relays; I’m really into the team aspect of things.”
For Morris, running is in her genes: her parents were great student-athletes as well, both running track at the University of Virginia.
“Both of my parents ran for the University of Virginia,” said Morris. “They met in college. I had heard all of these stories and I wanted to break their records and be as good as they were.”
With two outstanding seniors, and the rest of the slate left, Meadowbrook will look to improve its district standing and qualify as many people as possible for states. Be on the lookout for Dorrel and Morris at college team meets next fall.