Road to State interview: Woodruff's Stephens qualifies in four events

Woodruff junior sprinter Bria Stephens returns for her second Class AA state meet Saturday. Stephens is entered in four events, including two relays. Stephens is also a member of the school's basketball and volleyball team.

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Full name: Bria Stephens
Date of birth: Feb. 23, 1993
Hobbies: math, track, basketball, volleyball
Brothers/sisters: Jamilia, Bryant and Jye

scrunners: When did you start to get involved in track and field?
stephens: I started my seventh grade year. Coach (Brian) White got me very I came out and really enjoyed it.

scrunners: Do you remember your first meet?
stephens: Yes, we traveled to Palmetto. I was very slow then. I was running a 32 in the 200-meter dash.

scrunners: Do you play any other sports?
stephens: I play volleyball and basketball. I also play AAU basketball and track during the summer.

scrunners: What made you decide to get into track and field?
stephens: I really just like to run and I have alot of energy, so I thought running would be fun.

scrunners: What did you think of Saturday at the Upper State qualifier?
stephens: I was so pumped Saturday. I had all the energy in the world and was ready to run.

scrunners: How do you feel this has prepared for state?
stephens: I know my competition and I know what I have to do to win.

scrunners: Do you have any specific goals for state?
stephens: I want at least all-state in my events and maybe a ring.

scrunners: Over the years, how you have seen yourself and the sport progress?
stephens: I have gotten alot faster and the sport has been fun.

scrunners: What does it mean to you to be the first track and field athlete from Woodruff to qualify for state in four events?
stephens: It means alot and a great honor. I couldn't have done it without my team.

scrunners: What experience did you collect from your first state meet that will help you this year?
stephens: I won't be as nervous this year.

scrunners: Do you have a specific event you would put more effort into Saturday over others and if so, why?
stephens: No, I love competing and in everything I do I put in 110 percent because I couldn't let myself or team down.

scrunners: What kind of challenges have you encountered as an athlete?
stephens: During my eighth grade while running the mile in gym class I began to have chest pains, and later that night I found out I had supraventricular tachycardia and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

scrunners: What was going through your mind during this time?
stephens: Well, I was scared out of my mind because I thought I was about to die.

scrunners: Did you think you would be doing what you are doing now?
stephens: Not as much, but I wasn't going to lay around. They couldn't keep me down too long.

scrunners: How do you balance athletic and other responsibilities?
stephens: I have been doing it since the seventh grade and it's mastered by now.

scrunners: What keeps you motivated on a daily basis?
stephens: My great uncle Grover (RIP) because he would always tell me you better run fast and jump far.

scrunners: Do you have a pre-meet tradition?
stephens: Coach (Michael) Stokes (sprinters coach) tapes me and tells me to relax. Te took me to state! He taught me everything. He is the greatest coach ever.

scrunners: Which event do you prefer? And why?
stephens: The 200 is my favorite because I love the adrenaline I get from coming around that curve and hearing coach Stokes yelling run.

scrunners: How do you prepare for each event going into a meet - on day of a meet?
stephens: I pray before every event and when I get to the line.

scrunners: What do you look for in a coach and what do you expect a coach to look for in you?
stephens: I expect for them to be inspirational and to push me harder.

scrunners: What do you recommend to younger athletes to achieve their best?
stephens: I recommend to keep trying and never give up. Look what I came from to where I am now.

scrunners: If there is one thing in the world you could do it and why?
stephens: I would liek to train with Usain Bolt, because he is the fastest man alive.