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Athlete Of The Week: Na'Taja Ballard

The junior is helping guide the Bruins this indoor season as they try to go after a 7th straight state title.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — You can think of Western Branch runner, Na'Taja Ballard as a "swiss army knife" for the Bruins. She does it all this indoor track season from the 100 meter run and hurdles up to the 300 meters. With that kind of demand it's not just about the physical nature of the sport, but the mental side as well. "Track is basically a mind game for me", she says. "You've got to be mentally prepared. You've got to have that mindset that if you think you can win, you know you can win."

Yolonda Golden is in her second year as Bruins head coach, but was a long time assistant under Claude Toukene. She says Ballard has two sides to her. "You will see her out here being her lively self", but then says, "She'll get to the meet and you'll start to see the transition. She knows walking into the door is put your game face on."

The junior leads a girls squad that will be vying for a 7th straight indoor title at the school.