By Samantha Trezevant
Every sport takes hard work, dedication and passion. For Angel Parks, it took self-discipline and a shot in the dark to get where she is today, which is a place that’s truly admirable. As of March 11, Parks made history at Bell Creek Academy: she became the first NCAA Division 1 signee in school history by signing with Bethune-Cookman University for its excellent track and field program.
Here is her story:
“I never would have imagined that I would end up where I am now. I thought that track and field was just a phase that I would have before I made a big transition from middle school to high school. In my middle school year, it was all new to me and I thought that I would never be good enough to run competitively. Months and years went by and I started training more, winning a few races and ended up being more determined in my sport.
“Freshman year was when I knew that I had something special in me; I, Angel Parks, made it to states. I didn’t win, but I got to stand on that podium and I was proud of holding that fifth-place medal because I knew that this was only the beginning.
“My fascination with the sport grew, and I wanted to be the best hurdler in my division, and [I’m] going to college for it. I began to work harder, which involved working out on the weekends when I could hang out with friends. I faced obstacles with losing people I cared about because they didn’t understand my schedule, I’ve faced haters trying to bring me down and I’ve even had doubts about myself when things got hard—but I never gave up. I kept pushing harder to the point where I went to states again and earned a top-three medal. Oh, how I cried so much with nothing but smiles when I crossed that finish line and stood up on that podium.
“A year went by and I started reaching out to colleges, considering that I wanted to continue running on a collegiate level. Many coaches reached back to me, but I got rejected by most. I didn’t let that stop me, I kept reaching out weekly. Despite that, senior year came around, and coaches repeatedly started reaching out to me, wanting me to run for their school.
“I ended up having to make a decision that would open up a new door in my life. I knew that this was my time to commit and make the people who have supported me throughout the years proud. So, I made the huge decision to commit to Bethune-Cookman University. This was perfect for me because they have the sports aspect that I am searching for, and also the academic aspect as well. I also want to major in nursing and they have a fantastic program. I am very excited to see what’s in store for me in the future and am very proud to start a new lifestyle-a college lifestyle.”