At 5’6” and a buck thirty-five, Braun Stephens carries himself like an athlete. As Bartlett High School’s most prolific state competition qualifier, he leaves no doubt to his athletic acumen.
On Thursday, Stephens, still one year shy of graduation, will enter his third state-wide competition when he lines up with individuals who tower over him, but rarely beat him.
“Most of the guys that run the 800 meters are tall,” Stephens said. “I just go for it.”
The son of Dovon and Hilda Stephens has been “going for it” all year. Participating in cross country the junior qualified and finished in the top third in Tennessee. Wrestling at 138-pounds, six pounds over his natural weight, he qualified to represent that Panthers for Coach Daniel Longo. This spring the affable athlete made it three for three running a 2:02 in the 800-meters to test himself against the state’s best.
So what’s his favorite sport?
“Lacrosse,” he laughed. “They have a club team at Lausanne and I’m a middie (midfielder). It’s all fun – just being part of the team. You don’t even have to be an athlete, you’re just part of something bigger than yourself and you go out and make some goals.”
Stephens understands about goals. His father was a European university champion at Frankfurt in the 200 and 400-meters. Thursday, Braun will try to add his name to the families’ athletic accomplishments.
With a year remaining in high school, Stephens is undecided about his future.
“I want to go into the military, continue a family tradition there,” he said. “I want to travel the world, make my mark.”
Three sports qualifying for state three times. Braun Stephens isn’t waiting to make that mark.