Wildcat trio signs with Southern

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2011



RESERVE – “These three athletes,” said East St. John track and field coach Quinton Bradley Thursday morning, “have been the cornerstones to helping rebuild this program. I applaud you all for putting it on the map.”

Bradley was singing the praises of DeChris Strong, Deznee Wilson and Journae King, each of whom officially signed Thursday to attend Southern University and compete in track and field.

All three were fresh off of earning All-District honors in Wednesday’s District 6-5A meet at Joe Keller Memorial Stadium. Strong earned the nod in the 200 meter dash and the 4×2 relay. Wilson was All-District in the 200 and 4×1, 4×2 and 4×4 relay. King was All-District in the long jump and the 4×1 relay.

Strong also competes in the 100 and 4×1 relay. Wilson also competes in the 100, while King also competes in the triple jump, high jump, and 4×2 relay.

“Journae, DeChris and Deznee are the perfect examples to follow for others at our school,” said Bradley. “We hope that they’re opening up a pathway to the next level.”

Bradley said that three represented the first multi-athlete signing for the track and field program in the last decade. He also noted that it was fitting that they “pretty much grew up together” and have been competing alongside each other since middle school.

“These are kids that work hard, not just in track, but in the classroom,” he said. “Making the grades, getting the ACT scores to get to college. Everyone is just so proud of them. It’s a happy, happy moment not just for the kids and the parents but all of St. John Parish, for us to see these kids become what we believe we can be.”

King echoed Bradley’s last sentiment.

“I didn’t know I’d ever get this far,” said King.

“When I found out they were ready to sign me, I was just shocked and so happy. It’s a chance to get somewhere in life.”

Strong said he was relieved the process was over and glad to be making the jump with some familiar faces.

“It’s been a lot of pressure,” said Strong. “But to go with two friends makes it that much better. We’re very close. And so many people in our community are familiar with Southern already. It really makes it like another home.”

Wilson’s mother, Kenya, also attended Southern, making it something of a natural fit for her as well.

“I’m just so proud of myself and of my teammates,” said Wilson. “And I’m just so excited. I’m looking forward to focusing on my schoolwork and making the most of this opportunity.”

All three thanked their parents and coaches, as well as East St. John Principal Patricia Triche, for their unyielding support.

“Every time I said I can’t, I was told to get that word out of my vocabulary,” said King.