VCU sprinter finds Fortune through tragedy

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - For a short-distance runner, it's been a long road to greatness for VCU's Quina Fortune. In her final season in Richmond, she's become one of the best female athletes ever at VCU.

Fortune has set the school record in the 200m. She's currently 17th in the East Region at that distance, and has her sights set on the NCAA Championships.

But with how much misfortune she's encountered in her life, it is amazing she has made it this far.

Fortune grew up in New Orleans.  Her junior year of high school, Hurricane Katrina washed away her home city.  Over the next year, Fortune found herself living on a Navy base, then in Decatur Alabama.  In December, she moved back home to New Orleans, but had to attend a large public high school - when she had spent her entire life in private schools.

The social shock was hard for her, but her one guiding light through the troubled times was her mother.  Growing up in a one-parent home, Fortune depended on her mother for everything. When she was set to graduate from high school, it was her mother that pushed her to run track in college.

Fortune crossed paths with Jon Riley, an assistant track coach at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.  Riley made a strong impression on them, and Quina's mother decided that Belmont was where Quina's future lied.

In her freshman season, Quina came home almost every weekend.  Every break, she came home. Everyday, she spent much of it on the phone with her mother.  At the end of her season, Coach Riley left to take the head coaching position at VCU.  And Quina followed, once again, having to pick up and move.

But in her first season in Richmond, Quina's faced her toughest hurdle.  Her mother suffered a massive brain aneurysm, and died at the age of 50.

Quina did not take any time off from school, she just focused on her work, and her sport, because that's what her mother would've wanted her to do.

While emotional pain was not going to keep her down, physical pain took its toll in the form of injuries.  Quina battled severe injuries through her years at VCU, up until her senior season.

Now, she's healthy and has become the best female sprinter VCU has ever had. She consistently runs the 200m in under 24 seconds - a time that puts her in the discussion with the top 20 fastest runners in the country.

She has continued to prove that nothing is going to stop her from reaching her goals.

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