ROCKINGHAM — When Isis Covington left her official visit at Shaw University at the end of February, she knew she’d found her home for the next four years.
In a signing day ceremony on Wednesday, Covington made her college track and field career official surrounded by family, friends, classmates and coaches at Richmond Senior High School.
A four-year sprinter for the Lady Raiders, Covington earned a scholarship to run for the Bears and head coach Kevin Howell.
“It’s a good feeling to officially be signed with Shaw,” Covington said. “And I think it will be a good start to my future. I’m glad everybody came to support me on to the next stage of my career.
“I did my own research and I felt like Shaw was the place where my heart really was,” she added. “I knew after my visit that’s where I wanted to go.”
Fielding offers from Wingate University and Pfeiffer University, Covington said she got the offer from Shaw during her junior season.
Richmond head coach Reggie Miller added that Howell and the Bears program had been actively recruiting Covington since the indoor track season over the winter.
“I’m very happy for Isis, her scholarship was well deserving,” Miller said. “Her hard work, determination and commitment to being a student first then an athlete is remarkable. She is graduating with a 3.5357 GPA and she has done a great job.
“Isis did a great job on the girls’ track team the last four years,” he added. “She ran in the state championship, she was first team all-regional in 2021 in both the 4×100 and 4×200 relays and she made all-conference three straight years.
“She is one of the best athletes, girl or boy, that I have coached. Coach Howell is getting an athlete who is going to do some great things for the track program at Shaw University.”
For Richmond, Covington ran in the 55-meter, 300-meter and the 4×200-meter relay during the indoor season. This spring, she competed in the 100 and 200-meter dashes, as well as the 4×100 and 4×200-meter relay teams.
When she gets to Raleigh this summer, Covington said she anticipates running the 400-meter dash.
Her ultimate goal, Covington said, is to one day represent the United States in the Olympics. She felt that Shaw offered her the best chance at seeing that goal come to fruition.
“When I thought about my goals, I felt like I’d fit right in at Shaw,” Covington explained. “I really liked the coaching staff and all of the athletic facilities. The coaches were really welcoming and made me feel at home.
“(Coach Howell) told me that he wants me to run the 400. That’s a new event for me but it will make me faster in the 100 and 200-meter sprints.”
When she began her high school track and field career during her freshman year, Covington said she was inspired by two things: her natural speed and a little help from her older sister Destiny.
Destiny Covington, who graduated from Richmond in 2018, was a runner for Miller at Richmond and told Isis that she should give the sport a try.
“I always knew I was a fast runner and Destiny told me about track when she was running,” Covington said. “So I just tried out and it went from there. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Richmond. There have been lots of ups and downs, but that made me more competitive.”
Last weekend, Covington competed in the 4A Mideast regional meet. Running in the open 100 dash (12.68 seconds), she missed the top-four and a trip to the state championship by 0.31 seconds.
She also ran in the 200-meter dash, taking seventh overall with a time of 26.47 seconds.
One lesson that Covington will take with her from her time at Richmond is that building a strong bond with her teammates leads to hard work and dedication, which “allows all of us to shine together.” She hopes the same is the case at Shaw.
“Coach Miller helped me the most by always pushing me hard to finish everything that I’ve started,” Covington said. “He always tells me to never give up and I’m going to take that with me to college.
“I’m looking forward to being one of the fastest sprinters on the team and being a contributor for Shaw during my freshman year,” she closed. “I’m really excited.”
While continuing her track career at Shaw, Covington plans to major in accounting.