Burgin’s Qualls signs to run at Georgetown College

burginWesley Qualls knows there’s still a lot of work left to do during his senior year at Burgin, but he at least has one tremendous item checked off his to-do list.

Qualls recently signed to run track and cross country at Georgetown College. He picked the Tigers while also considering Lindsey Wilson, Thomas More, Transylvania, Wittenberg and Tennessee Wesleyan.

“I really loved the campus at Georgetown,” Qualls said. “My favorite part being that there are so many things to do in the surrounding area. I also felt that I had a connection with the coach. I feel it is an essential part of any sport to be close to your coach. Lastly, the team seems like it is full of a great group of kids.”

Qualls has qualified for four straight state cross country meets, with his best finish a 52nd-place showing as a junior with a time of 17 minutes, 54.31 seconds. He finished 61st this year (18:13.42). In the region meet, he had three straight top-20 finishes, highlighted by a seventh-place finish as a sophomore (18:15.41), before finishing 22nd this year (19.56.72).

In track, he’s qualified for three consecutive state meets, twice individually in the 3,200 meter run and once in the 1,600. He’s also qualified on two relay teams. He finished second in the region meet in the 3,200 as a sophomore.

For Qualls, signing before track season does take some pressure off, but he also realizes he can’t let his focus wander.

“I feel like the biggest part about signing now is if I have a bad race, I won’t get as down on myself as I used to,” he said. “I don’t necessarily feel that it gives me the ability to relax because there isn’t really a time to relax in track due to the fact that there is always improvements to be made. I am excited to be able to really focus on this season and get things done.”

Some of those improvements for college will simply be getting used to the longer distances of the races.

“In track I will need to continue what I am doing and finish with a bang,” Qualls said. “This summer I will need to hit some heavy mileage due to the increase in the distance from a high school cross country race to a college race. The distance changes from a 5,000-meter race to anything from a 6,000-, 8,000- or even a 10,000-meter race.

Qualls will major in Economics at Georgetown and hopes to become “some type of banker.” And despite the relative closeness of the school and his hometown, that wasn’t the biggest factor in signing to be a Tiger.

“Distance wasn’t really a huge factor in my decision because I was willing to go anywhere to continue running, if I liked the school of course,” Qualls said. “Despite all that, I am super excited that home is close that way I can see my family a lot more than expected. My family plays a huge role in my life and I love that I am able to keep it that way. Being close also helps my family out too because that means my meets will be closer to home and they will be able to continue watching me finish my running career at Georgetown College.”

Follow Jeremy Schneider on Twitter @jschneideramn