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Editor’s note: Each week, The Wake Weekly will honor a local high school senior athlete who put in years of work in a sport, but who won’t finish their final season after COVID-19 ended spring athletics.
RALEIGH — This week’s student-athlete of the week is Wakefield girls track athlete Brooklyn Rushing.
The hurdler was born and raised in Raleigh. She was plugged into sports at a young age, along with her older brother.
Rushing’s mother, Dawn, ran track when she went to high school. She passed down that drive to her daughter, who started running track in middle school.
“Growing up, my parents put me and my brother in multiple sports,” Rushing said. “From a young age, I enjoyed running. After running for a while, I saw it as something that you can excel in. That motivated me for my drive.”
Not only is Rushing a track athlete, she is also a cheerleader for Wakefield High School. The multi-sport competitor said she loves using her athletic ability to boost school spirit.
“I’ve been cheerleading since I was little,” Rushing said. “I started out in gymnastics and I’ve been competing for a while since then.”
For track, Rushing focused on the 100-meter hurdles, 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. She was the NAC 6 conference champion for the 100-meter hurdles for both her sophomore and junior year.
Her all-time best time for hurdles is 15.82 seconds, which she ran at the preliminiaries in the 4A east regional championship last year.
Rushing’s record time for the 100-meter dash is 12.84 seconds. For the 200-meter dash, her best time is 27.94 seconds. She’s been a member of the school’s track team all four years and was a team captain last year and this year.
“The 100-meter hurdles is my favorite event,” Rushing said. “I started running at the end of freshman year. It’s something different that I like.”
Rushing was looking forward to defending her conference title and possibly make a run to states. However, the COVID-19 outbreak forced all schools to shut down their spring sports season.
“We were sitting down at the bleachers in practice the day we first heard the news,” Rushing said. “Our coaches told us we weren’t going to finish the season. Everyone was devastated. It was heart-breaking knowing that this was my final season.”
Now that Rushing will no longer compete for Wakefield again, she is focusing on the future ahead. She graduated with a 4.46 G.P.A., which was ranked in the top 5 percent of her class.
The Wakefield graduate will attend UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall and try out for their cheerleading team. Rushing said she’s doing everything she can to physically and mentally be ready for the next level.
“I’m still determined to make the university’s cheerleading squad,” Rushing said. “I continue to train and stay in shape. I run with my mom and brother every morning. I haven’t completely let go of my training.”
While at UNC, Rushing said she will study to become a dentist.
“I got to assist my brother at his dental office over the past year,” Rushing said. “I realized it’s something I can do to help change people’s lives. I love it.”
As she goes on to UNC, Rushing looks back on the past few years at Wakefield. She contributed with two conference championships and demonstrated her leadership both on and off the track as a captain. Her final words to her teammates is a message of motivation for next year.
“I want to tell my teammates to always give a 110 percent,” Rushing said. “Never give up no matter what life throws at them.”