On Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, Cheltenham senior Chanel Brissett announced her decision to accept a scholarship to continue her track career at USC. To view photos of the event, please visit the Photo Gallery.
Chanel Brissett – University of Southern California (Track)
Final list of colleges: USC, Kentucky, University of Florida, Florida State
Reasons for choosing USC: “Mostly, it was the education, not just track. When I went on the visit, a lot of the girls seemed very focused to me. I had a lot of fun, and there was a lot of team bonding. I really felt the environment was so gravitating, and that’s where I needed to be.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in track at the collegiate level? “This was really a dream for me, and I knew it could come true. If I worked hard and I stayed focused, I could do whatever I wanted.
“(This) means the world to me. This is all I’ve been thinking about since I was younger. I thought, ‘I need to get a scholarship to a school of my dreams.’ This is just everything to me.”
What was the past year - which included the Olympic Trials - like for you? “This past year was so amazing. My coaches and my parents really pushed me to do things that I didn’t want to do at first, and for that, I’m really thankful. The Olympic Trials were so fantastic for me. I loved it. I got to meet people I never (met) before, I got to be treated like a pro, I got to run amongst the best, and I think that’s the most important thing about the sport. I think I really grew as a person.”
Coach Kelly Jensen says: “We have had a long line of athletes here in the school – not that she’s just another one in the line, but she’s received some really good mentorship from Katelyn Jackson, who’s at UCLA, and she got mentored by Ciara Leonard, who was a hurdler. Now (Chanel) is mentoring other kids. What we’re trying to do is keep a line going of those kids because there are more kids coming.
“(Chanel) provides a leadership and a maturity and a humility because track is a pretty individualized sport. If you don’t come to perform every day, you can’t rest on your laurels. It’s like wrestling or gymnastics – you’ve got to do it today, and you’re the only one out there by yourself, and she knows it. She stayed really humble through the whole process. Her parents were amazing – they really guided her through the whole thing. At the end of the day, it’s about humility, keeping your feet on the ground and remembering where you came from. That’s why I think she’s going to be a success. I’ve been around some successful athletes, and they know where they came from, and they know it’s going to take hard work.
“At the Olympic Trials, the thing that really impressed the other coaches and me was – in the process when she’s running against professionals and she’s running against coach’s athletes who are recruiting her heavily, she just focused on her thing, kept her cool and kept doing the same thing as if it was a dual meet out here. Here she was at the Olympic Trials, and she said, ‘You know what – this is going to be a fun ride.’ She just kept it light. There were a couple of other high school kids – one of them made the Olympic Team, and you could see –they were tense. Chanel was laughing and having fun. It was nice to see she had that maturity, and she’s going to carry that to USC.
“She was looking at a lot of really good schools, and she said, ‘They just don’t have the history.’ I said, ‘That doesn’t matter. You go and be the one that makes it happen.’ That’s what I think she’s going to do. She’s not going to be just another athlete there. She wants to go there, make her mark and do something for USC.”
Favorite food: Jamaican Food
Movie: Straight Outta Compton
Favorite music: R&B, Pop & Hip Hop