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By Jeff Nations - firstname.lastname@example.org
Britani Myers took one look at the Oxford, Miss., campus of the University of Mississippi and knew -- just knew -- that she was home.
"It sounds like a cliché, but when I walked on the campus I just knew it was the right place," said Myers, who made a verbal commitment to accept a track scholarship from Ole Miss on Monday. "The people were so nice and the girls on the team were so nice to me. It's going to be a totally new experience for me. I'd never even been to Mississippi before last weekend."
That desire to attend Ole Miss was so strong that Myers felt no further need to visit any other schools. She'd visited the campus at the United States Naval Academy before her trip to the deep South, and canceled scheduled trips to Virginia Tech and William & Mary once she got back.
Myers, who won state titles in the 2011 indoor 500-meter dash and as part of the Judges' 2010 outdoor 1,600-meter relay, holds a slew of school records in track at Handley. Myers is the current record holder in the indoor 500 dash, indoor 1,000-meter run, and outdoor 400 and 800. Myers is also part of four school record-holding relays -- the 800 and 1,600 indoor relays, and the 400 and 1,600 outdoor relays.
Myers said she'll compete in both cross country and track and field for the Rebels despite not having run cross country since her sophomore year at Handley. The goal, more than anything, is to get in shape for the track season where Myers will likely compete in the 800 and 1,500 and perhaps run a leg in the 1,600 relay.
Looking at the Ole Miss schedule for next season admittedly has Myers perhaps daydreaming a bit about all the travel she'll soon experience.
"I'm looking forward to competing against all the rivals in the SEC," Myers said. "They're all such nice schools and I'd love to be able to visit each one. I'm really looking forward to traveling all around the south."
Mostly, Myers is focused on the coming indoor and outdoor track seasons at Handley. She is shooting to add to that list of state championships, both as an individual and as part of the Judges' relays.
"I'd like to improve on my school records -- that way, I'll be remembered for awhile," Myers said. "I'm definitely working on getting our relays back to competing for a state championship."
Myers will concentrate on running the 400 and 800 for the Judges this season with an eye toward continuing on next year at Mississippi.
That approach should pay dividends for both Myers and the Judges, Handley track and field coach Mike McKiernan said.
"I think she's going to end up as a 1,500- and 800-meter runner in college," McKiernan said. "She's a great 400 runner at the high school level and she's going to need that speed to compete in the SEC.
"It should work out well for both of us. She and I sat down and discussed it, and I think she can have a great deal of individual success in the 400 and 800 this year. And in track, individual success helps the team."
Myers has put in countless hours of training, from running the school hallways during the indoor season's winter months to knocking out laps on the track during the outdoor season. Still, Myers knows she's had plenty of help along the way.
"I'd like to thank the Handley family for being so supportive of me," Myers said. "I really want to thank my dad, Kevin Myers, who's always been my biggest support and really helped me accomplish this."