North County graduate and track standout Adrienne McCray has succeeded in chasing down her dream of a college scholarship -- which means she isn't finished running.
The nationally ranked 17-year-old, who is a two-time Class 4A state champion in the 300-meter hurdles, has signed for a full scholarship to attend Penn State University.
In nabbing McCray, an honors student, Penn State won a battle with the University of Tennessee, an acclaimed program that finished ninth in this year's NCAA track championships.
"It's a big relief. Tennessee has an excellent track program, but I chose Penn State for its academic reputation," said McCray, who will major in biology.
"Plus it's closer to home, and of course, they offered me the full scholarship."
McCray, who last year became the first inductee into her school's Hall of Fame, achieved statewide recognition as the Anne Arundel County Sun's two-time Female Track Athlete of the Year and as a first-team All-Metro selection by both The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.
McCray set a state record of 42.9 seconds in this year's title-winning 300 hurdles effort before placing third in the long jump.
At the Keebler Invitational, a meet for high school seniors in Elmhurst, Ill., two weeks ago, McCray -- who has captured six county meet titles in two years -- completed the 300 a second faster than in the state meet.
Last week's U.S. Junior Nationals at Ohio State University featured the nation's best high school seniors along with the top college freshmen and sophomores. McCray, a 5-foot-2, 120-pounder, placed fifth in the 400 meters, and her time (60.99) is the nation's third-highest for a high school runner.
"Penn State also has a good program, and they had the most representatives at the junior nationals," said McCray.
"They have one girl who's running around [57 seconds in the 400] and another who's around 61, so I know I've got some people to practice with, and I'll be one of the top hurdlers when I get there."