That quote is something that Lincoln’s Shelbi White lives by and on Monday morning she saw that hard work pays off as one of her dreams became a reality as the she signed a full track and field scholarship to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
“I am excited to be a Lady Vol,” White said. “I think this fits for me, the program and the coaches. I think I will do really well at Tennessee.”
During the past few summers, White is no stranger when it comes to running at the University of Tennessee. White who is a member of Bobby Humphrey’s AAU track team has run all over the Southeast including the University of Tennessee for track meets. White said the coaches, like Sharon Couch-Fikes who is the women’s sprints coach, played a major factor in her choosing Tennessee. Couch-Fikes is a two time Olympian and one of the most decorated runners in the history of the University of North Carolina.
“Everything, the beautiful campus, the coaches,” She said. “Mostly the coaches and how they are experienced in the Olympics. I want to go the Olympics in 2016 in Rio and I think that is why it is a better fit than other schools I was looking at.”
White had offers from all the schools in the Southeastern Conference; she also had offers from Illinois, Iowa, the Military Academy and the Naval Academy.
White said the coaches can expect her to come in focused on reaching her goals and someone that is going to work hard to achieve it.
“Hard work and dedication with my mind set on reaching the goals that I need to reach,” White said.
White is the most decorated athlete to come through Lincoln. As a freshman, she was a silver medalist in the 400 and she won the bronze in the 4x400 meter relay at the state meet. As a sophomore, she won Class 4A state championship the 400 meter dash and she won the state championship in 4x400 meter relay. White also won silver in the 100 and the 200 meter dash. As a junior, she won the 4A state title in the 100 and the 200 meter dash. White won and set a state record in 400 meter dash. She also won the 4x400 meter relay.
She had a record setting performance in the Class 4A 400-meter dash last year in the state championship track meet. She said signing takes a small amount of pressure off of her going into the season.
“I still have to keep my mind set, work harder and get better,” White said. “I want to break more state records. I want to break my record in the 200 and the 100. I want to just go all out this year.”
In her first year competing the indoor championship, White clocked 57.89 seconds in the 400-meter dash and set a new Class 1A-4A state record.
“It was my first year and it was so nerve racking because I wasn’t experienced and it took me a while to conquer the rail because I would find myself tripping over it, but I finally conquered it and I ended up winning the 4A state championship and breaking a record.”
Lincoln track coach Skylar Mansfield is elated for all the opportunities that White will have by signing with the University of Tennessee.
“It is a blessing to have a kid with an opportunity at any time to have a chance to go to the next level,” Mansfield said. “It is special for Lincoln High School and it is big for Lincoln High School. I don’t know how many athletes have been as decorated as Shelbi with what she has accomplished at Lincoln High School and make it to the next level. Not only will she be pursuing a track career, but she will also have an awesome opportunity as far as her career in academics. Tennessee is one of the better schools in the country academically. I think it is an honor and blessing for her to have the opportunity to go to Tennessee especially with her coming from Lincoln High School.”
In a speech that White gave after signing her letter of intent to Tennessee, she took the time to thank her family, coaches, and the school’s facility for playing a part of making one of her dreams into a reality.