By Christopher Hunt
People kept telling Chamqiue Francis how hard the recruiting process would be. They told her how hard it would be a choose a school and deal with letters and calling coaches and oh yeah, the whole making-a-decision-about-the-rest-of-your-life thing.
But Cardozo senior said it was never that bad. And when she felt overwhelmed she did the one thing she could to control endless questions and inquiries about her future. She just stopped answering her phone.
“The thing about it is that once I make up my mind, that’s it,” Francis said.
Her decision is to accept a athletic scholarship to the University of Texas. She plans to make an announcement at the New Balance Track and Field Center later today. She chose the Longhorns over LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M.
Francis currently holds the fastest time in the country at 300 meters, having run 38.78 at the Bishop Loughlin Games in December. But the Longhorns are getting one of the best quarter-milers in the country. Francis finished second at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals last year in a personal best 53.20, which ranked fifth in the country last spring. She held the second-fastest time in the country in the 400 indoors last year and is currently ranked third (55.31).
Francis came about three steps from a national title that day. The winner, Briana Nelson, was her host.
“We didn’t talk about the race,” Francis said. “I didn’t even want to think about that.”
But, beyond the academic aspect of her decision, Francis did consider her athletic future. She said she chose Texas partly because the training program is similar to what she already does with her club coach, Charles Weeks. Francis told Texas coach Bev Kearney, a five-time NCAA Coach of the Year, that she wanted be trained to compete at the Olympics.
It was Kearney’s response that solidified her decision.
“She was just real,” Francis said. “Every coach said that they could do that. Coach Kearney told me she could definitely do it but she also told me the things she couldn’t do. College is not like your recruiting visit. You’re not going to get the same attention. No one is going to be driving you around and taking you to dinner.
“But she told me what she could do and there’s a history of quarter-milers at Texas. She’s trained a lot of females who have gone to the Olympics.”
Reach Christopher Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.