Can-do attitude drives Quitman’s Marcee to state track and field meet

By Sam Major
photos@wood.cm
Posted 5/6/21

“I like to win,” says Quitman track and field standout Brooklyn Marcee.

She did plenty of it this season, bringing home medals repeatedly (mostly gold) in the four individual events in …

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Can-do attitude drives Quitman’s Marcee to state track and field meet

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“I like to win,” says Quitman track and field standout Brooklyn Marcee.

She did plenty of it this season, bringing home medals repeatedly (mostly gold) in the four individual events in which she has competed throughout the spring – long jump, pole vault, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles – and as part of relay teams.

The afternoon of Saturday, April 21 in Whitehouse, things at the regional meet hadn’t quite gone according to her plan. Having not managed to earn silver to qualify for state in her first three events, the 300m hurdle finals was all that remained.

It was one last chance to punch her ticket to the state meet in Austin.

Marcee has played sports since she was two years old.

She was in gymnastics for about 12 years and has competed in club track for the last half dozen.

In gymnastics, it’s just her. She has to focus on herself.

“It isn’t based off how fast you go, or anything like that, it’s how perfect each and every skill is,” Marcee articulates.

She likes to be in control about the results and try to make everything as perfect as possible.

In track, she runs against herself.

“It doesn’t have to be perfection but you always have to improve, every time,” which is why she gets so competitive about it.

Improve she has. Marcee was running the 300m hurdles in 51 seconds to start the season, progressed to low-49 and high-48 times, then ran a personal best 47.07 at region. She wants to shave two more seconds off yet.

Marcee says she feels like she’s missed out on some stuff because she’s always doing sports, but to dedicate that much time to something, it drives her to want to be good and to win.

Her summer will consist of pole vault in the morning, a two to three hour break, then she moves on to heptathlon in the afternoon. The javelin will be a new event, and she’ll have to relearn how to do high jump, shot put and 800 meters.

She doesn’t have many days where she doesn’t feel like working. They’re few and far between, according to Quitman girls track coach Blake Hamrick.

“If there’s 365 days in a year, 362 of them are good days for her, where she shows up ready to work, good attitude, good mentality. That has obviously translated into her performances,” observes Hamrick.

He notes that not many folks’ favorite, top sport is track.

“Brooklyn’s best quality is her personality.”

Hamrick says it has nothing to do with athletics nor her abilities, it’s her personality. She makes people around her better. She’s easy to be around because she’s so friendly and talkative.

That is what makes her who she is, says Hamrick. “All the other stuff – athletics, hurdles, club track – all that plays second fiddle to her personality and adds to who she is.”

She’s so good at anything she does whether it’s track, academics, volleyball, one-act play or powerlifting, because of how good of an actual person she is. It all stems from her personality and who she is at her core.

“It’s the truth,” affirms Hamrick.

Marcee is extremely grateful for the love and support she receives from her friends, family, coaches and community.

“They help me drive to perform to the best of my abilities and represent Quitman with pride.”

Marcee says coach Devin Shaw makes her yell “I’m a beast” at practice. Hamrick interjects that coach Devin Shaw is the mental guy.

“She’s a beast,” Shaw emphasizes.

He thinks she’s the hardest worker in the program, boy or girl, yet stays humble.

With all the success, qualifying in multiple events for region and making it to state, it would be easy to let that go to one’s head, but she doesn’t. She’s humble, picks up her teammates, looks out for others and that’s a great asset, states Shaw.

He signs off emails with a quote attributed to Babe Ruth, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” Shaw thinks that’s true of Marcee because he knows she isn’t going to quit, ever.

“Heaven forbid, but if for some reason she falls in the hurdles, I guarantee she could still beat somebody. She’d get up and beat somebody, because she’s not going to give up, she’s not going to quit,” as Marcee knocks on wood with a chuckle, Shaw finishes, “She’s going to find a way. That’s Brooklyn Marcee to a tee.”

He learned from Marcee’s dad that if someone says she can’t do it, she’s going to do it.

She proved that in the 300m hurdles and Shaw adds, “you know what, she might just do it,” again at state.

Marcee learned from her dad, “everything is mental, that’s where it all begins,” and it’s something she uses in every competition.

She declares, “It’s my race, it’s my choice.”

She tries to pay attention to herself and do the best she can, but if she’s doing her best and sees someone challenging her, “oh, I’m going to try to beat them, I don’t want them to win.”

Even if it means lunging forward to dive across the finish line, which she did to conclude her final regional race, resulting in a photo finish.

Her place was unknown until it was announced over the stadium loudspeaker. By one one-hundredth of a second, she’d earned silver and a state meet berth.

Marcee was still in disbelief a week later, speculating that perhaps it would sink in when they left for Austin that Wednesday.

She looked forward to the experience of running on the track in Mike A. Myers Stadium, grinning, “That’ll be exciting.”