Meridian Star

Sports

May 28, 2014

Wildcat stars ink scholarships

MERIDIAN — Meridian High School track star Jasmine Cherry was a state champion in the high jump event in her ninth-grade-year three years ago. But during her sophomore year, Cherry tore her ACL while on the basketball team.

Cherry was sidelined from track competition her 10th and 11th-grade years, but managed to compete her senior season and helped lead the Lady Wildcats to a South State championship and a second-place finish at the state meet.

It was a long and arduous rehabilitation process for Cherry, but Tuesday, she witnessed all of her hard work come to fruition as she signed a letter of intent with Ole Miss, and teammate Kiana Grant inked with Mississippi College.  

“She was the same Jasmine of old,” said Meridian girl’s track coach Barbara Brown of Cherry’s senior campaign. “She persevered and was able to come back, and as a leader her determination was that she was going to get back into the shape she was in prior to the injury.”

As for Grant, Brown cites the senior’s determination and willingness to her ability to earn a full-ride collegiate scholarship.

“Kiana has a terrific drive and motivation,” Brown said. “Her work ethic was evident to the other players. Kiana was also giving 100 percent, and that was something the other girls saw. If anything she saw that was an error, she worked hard to correct it.”

And Brown would know, having served as Meridian’s girl’s track coach for the past 32 years with this season being her last at the helm.

“Coach Brown was a really big part of my success,” Grant said. “I probably wouldn’t have been recruited without her. We gave our all this year for her.”

Cherry remains thankful the rigorous recruiting process is over and commends the solid relationship she’s established with her future coaches in getting to this point.

“It’s a lot of stress put on you,” Cherry said. "Once I visited the campus, I just fell in love with it. I’m just glad that I finally got the relief off off my shoulders, and I’m happy about my decision.”

As for Brown, her decision fell heavily on family and academic aspirations.

“(My parents, Myra and Charles Grant) were leaning towards Mississippi College,” Grant said. “And after I visited, I kind of was leaning there as well. They have a beautiful campus, and they have a really good Kinesiology department. I want to be a coach, a trainer or a physical therapist.”

Grant competes in the long jump, triple jump, 4x400-meter relays and the 400-meter dash.

“It’s a lot of mental and physical strain,” Grant said of competing in the various events. “You have to have the right mindset to push yourself to keep going. Some people might quit, but not me.”

Cherry, who is the daughter of Donna and Val Cherry, competes in the high jump, 4x400-meter relay and the 300-meter hurdles and is the recipient of the inaugural Barbara Brown Award.

“There are so many memories I’m going to have here at Meridian,” Cherry said. “We’ve been through a lot this past year. It was a great experience. I’m so close with my teammates, and we were so close to winning (a state championship).”

In the end, the two Mississippi schools will now have the added benefit of two stellar female athletes coming on board, something Brown believes is good for both the athletes and the universities.

“Ole Miss and Mississippi College are going to have some of the top athletes when these girls get to campus,” Brown said. “They have work ethic and a terrific drive and are motivated. They strive to be the best.”

 

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