Alcorn State chooses Wright|[06/06/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 6, 2007

For four years, three Vicksburg High seniors – Rachel Jenkins, Courtney Prentiss and Stephanie Wright – made the Missy Gators a feared opponent in track and field.

Now, with Wright’s signing Tuesday with Alcorn State University, all three have track futures at the Division I level. Prentiss signed with Jackson State University last week while Jenkins was an early fall signee with Ole Miss.

VHS girls track coach Deborah Brown said she was elated that three collegiate track and field programs took interest in her girls.

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&#8220It’s been a long time since we’ve had any girl get a track scholarship, the last was probably Kanika Lindsey. To get three this year is special,” Brown said.

Brown said Alcorn State coach Nicole Griffin liked Wright’s determination in running two difficult events, the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.

&#8220She liked Step’s hustle,” Brown said. &#8220In college, Step is going to have to run 400 meters rather than 300, but I think that distance will suit her better because she has a lot of stamina and that helped us at the end of races.”

Wright said she became interested in Alcorn State because of Griffin’s persistence.

&#8220She called me more than the other coaches. She wants me to run the hurdles and the relays,” Wright said. &#8220In high school, I liked running the 300 hurdles the best, but over at Alcorn, I may like both.”

Wright had her best finish in an individual hurdle event at this year’s Class 5A state meet in Pearl, taking second in the 300 hurdles. She also proved her worth in the relay events, helping the Missy Gators to four gold medals during the previous two state meets.

&#8220Getting second this year in the hurdles was my best finish. We had a good year. I would’ve like to have won the team title. We came in second all those years,” Wright said of the Missy Gators’ three consecutive state runner-up finishes from 2004-06. They were a surprising third this year after losing Jenkins to a season-ending knee surgery during basketball season.

Wright, the daughter of Louis and Vanesa Wright, says getting an athletic scholarship wasn’t really on her mind when she went out for track as a freshman in 2004.

&#8220No, it just kind of came along. I’ll stay with it as long as it doesn’t interfere with my education,” Wright said.

Wright is nearly qualified to run next year as a freshman. She finished with a 3.4 grade point average, but still needs one more point on the American College Test.

&#8220I have a 16 but I take the test again Saturday and I’m going to make at least a 21,” she said. &#8220I don’t know what I’m going to major in, but I do know, I want to be successful.”