How does an athlete that hated track and field in middle school end up with two state high school championships and a college scholarship?
That’s the fairy tale story of Campbell County golden girl Kristin Chapman, a two-sport star that was named MVP of the district girls’ basketball tournament just four days before signing a national letter-of-intent Friday to compete next season for the East Tennessee State University women’s track and field team.
She plans to major in nursing while at ETSU.
“I wasn’t going to run in high school until (my coach) Mrs. Evans talked me into it. I owe it all to her,” Chapman said.
“Last year, I got real serious about it because I knew I could go farther.”
Chapman has a chance this year to become the most decorated track and field athlete in Campbell County High School history. Last May, she tied two-time state champion Amanda Forrester’s school record of 5-8 while winning the girls’ Class AAA state high jump title for the second consecutive season.
No athlete at CCHS has won more than two state championships during their high school career, but Chapman is poised to surpass that if all goes according to plan this year.
“From seventh grade until now, Kristin has consistently set a high standard for herself,” said her event coach, Billie Ann Evans.
“She finished third in the state last year in pentathlon and didn’t even practice.
“She kept her composure through each competition, and she had a lot on her shoulders.”
Chapman fought through a hip injury during the 2011 season, but kept it so quiet that anyone outside of the CCHS program would not have known it.
She set numerous meet and stadium records as a high jumper and also qualified to run the hurdles at state.
Chapman’s runner-up finish at UT’s prestigious Volunteer Track Classic was the only meet during the past two seasons in which she did not win the high jump.
“She is a team leader, is motivated and has great dedication,” Evans said.
“That’s the sign of a true competitor. She has set a precedent for our younger athletes.”
Numerous major colleges actively recruited Chapman for their track and field teams. They included every member of the Southeastern Conference, as well as Stanford, Fresno State, Harvard and, of course, ETSU.
She narrowed her choices down to ETSU and the University of Tennessee, and made official visits to both schools.
Chapman ultimately chose ETSU because of its nursing program and a smaller population of students.
“They had everything I was looking for. I’m excited about it,” she said.