BIDWELL, Ohio — Once she goes off to college, Tianna Qualls will be combining basketball with work.
That’s because Qualls, a graduating senior at River Valley High School, announced her intention on Friday to play college basketball at Berea College in Berea Ky.
Qualls was flanked at her signing ceremony by her parents Terry and Jamie Qualls, River Valley High School Athletic Director Rich Stephens and River Valley High School Principal T.R. Edwards.
Berea — which although is an NCAA Division III institution and a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) — is unique, Qualls said.
She explained that the actual tuition is free, and that all students are offered a job on campus and paid for that job.
“The minute I walked on the Berea campus, I knew that was where I wanted to go,” said Qualls. “It’s really small. They grow their own food there and are very eco-friendly. They recycle. Working on campus is how you pay for your tuition.”
The Mountaineers are coached by head coach Trent Milby and assistant coach Jeff McClain, and they contacted Qualls after she received an award from the school.
“I received the Carter G. Woodson award from there and the coaches have been in touch with me ever since. That was junior year,” she said. “I need to work on my outside shooting and ball-handling skills. I was never really a ball-handler here.”
She said she was grateful for four years at River Valley, and was one of four four-year players for the Lady Raiders last year.
“Playing here at River Valley for four years, I learned a lot and it was a growing experience,” said Qualls. “It helped me grow as a person and as a basketball player.”
Qualls plans to major in Art Therapy at Berea.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106