Bradwell Institute multi-sport star Quintunya Chapman signed her letter of intent Friday afternoon to run track and field for the University of Georgia.
“Georgia is not only getting a good athlete, they are getting a good student and they are getting a good person,” Lady Tigers track and volleyball coach Readie Kelly said. “When she gets there, they will see that Bradwell produced one of the best.”
Chapman currently is the best in the long jump among Georgia seniors. She earned the No. 1 rank with a jump of 19 feet, 1 1⁄4 inches at last week’s Region 3-AAAAA track finals at BI. She ended up qualifying for the state meet in the long jump, 4x400 relay, 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash. In addition to her first-place ranking in the long jump, Chapman is fifth in the state in the 200 (24.95) and fourth in the state for the 400 (56.11). She reportedly is ranked No. 17 nationally in the long jump and is No. 31 among seniors in the 400.
Chapman, a threat to reach the podium at the state Class AAAA finals, is set to join an SEC program and enroll in the state’s flagship university.
“It feels great, it’s unbelievable and I’m trying not to get overly excited, stay calm and humble about everything so I can enjoy the moment while it lasts,” Chapman said. “The campus is beautiful, the people are friendly and it has a great sports program. It’s just one big family and I liked the atmosphere when I went to go visit.”
Chapman, who carries a GPA between 3.4 and 3.6, plans to study sports medicine.
“I can’t even describe the feeling; it’s awesome,” her mom, Cenita Chapman, said. “My daughter is truly blessed. It wasn’t so much about what she could do for the Georgia Bulldogs; it was more what they could do for her as far as her being in her major.”
Chapman started running track in middle school and trained with coach Jerome Washington on the Fort Stewart track team.
Chapman was just as accomplished as a member of the Lady Tigers basketball team, going 29-1 and 16-0 in Region 3-AAAAA. She was No. 30 in the region in steals (36), No. 9 in the region in rebounds (161) and No. 33 in assists (22). She also was a member of the Lady Tigers volleyball team. She was awarded the Savannah Morning News Athlete of the Year Award the past two years.
“She got a little bit from me,” said her father, David Chapman. He was a standout cornerback in high school in Mississippi.
“I knew when she first started (track) she had a special talent and I didn’t push her or force her to do anything because it had to be her own decision,” he said. “All her accomplishments came from her wanting to do it and I’m here to support her and this is her day.”
Kelly credited Chapman’s parents, saying their continued support kept Chapman from straying from her goals. “They have been involved with her since middle school,” Kelly said. “In the four years I coached her, I’ve only been to one event that maybe her mother was late to but she never missed. That type of parental support is amazing. I have an athlete that everybody wants and everybody loves. I have other young ladies coming up behind her saying they want to be like Quintunya. She set the ground rules for future athletes.”
Chapman still is training for the upcoming state meet and runs about two hours a day. She said she plans to stay active over the summer to stay in shape for the Bulldogs.
“They are edging me toward being on the 4x400 and trying a few other multi-events,” she said. “I’m just going to take on whatever Georgia gives me, work hard all the time and I’m going to take it and run with it.”
“I told her she just has to be herself, be smart, have faith,” her dad said. “Be a leader not a follower, be focused and be Quintunya and she will be just fine.”