Brown eligible for rest of 2003-04


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The path to eligibility has been set for Potomac sophomore track runner Kharya Brown by Prince William County superintendent of schools Ed Kelly.

On Jan. 31, Kharya was ruled eligible for the remainder of the 2002-2003 school year based on her academic welfare, Kelly said Thursday. In order for her to compete athletically in the 2003-04 season, though, Kharya will have to meet one of two criteria. She will either have to keep her residence in Stafford, pay out-of-county tuition and enroll in the Cambridge [mathematics speciality] program on time or she and her entire family must make its new residence in Dumfries a permanent one.

“This saga is behind us and the only thing that Kharya has to do is continue in her academics and continue in her competing, which she likes to do,” said Kharya’s father Bob Brown on Monday at the Cedar Run District meet, where Kharya took first place in the 55 and 300-meter dashes. “The rest of the stuff is moot.”

Kelly’s decision to allow Kharya to compete came just a day after she was ruled ineligible by Potomac school administrators, who feared she might be in violation of a Virginia High School League Rule pertaining to dual residency. Kharya and her mother are living in the Potomac school district while her father Bob, a former Gar-Field paid assistant track coach, is living in the family’s original residence in Stafford.

According to Virginia High School League rules, the rules say that an entire family must be moved out of the home and the original residence must be sold and abandoned in order for the athlete to become eligible to participate in a sport in the same academic year.

But on Jan. 31, Kelly granted a waiver that allowed Kharya to compete in last Monday’s district meet at Fork Union Military Academy. The waiver by Kelly –which he is allowed to do under VHSL rules –came just hours before a scheduled court appearance. The Browns were seeking an injunction that would have allowed her to compete this year.

Originally, Bob Brown wanted Kharya to be part of the Cambridge program, a mathematics speciality program that only Potomac offers. That would have made Kharya eligible to compete this season. However, he did not enroll her on time, which made her ineligible. After Kharya moved to the Potomac school district, she began competing for the Panthers this winter while taking two classes in the program.

“She was eligible to attend Potomac High School and that made her eligible to compete athletically,” Kelly said. “I indicated that if I made her move now, it would hurt her academically because we are looking now at February. … She would have to go Stafford [the rest of the year], and change classes and not be able to take Cambridge classes.”

Jeff Custer, who coached Kharya as a freshman, said Gar-Field will not pursue the case any longer. An e-mail concerning the Browns’ living situation had been sent in late January by a Gar-Field track parent to Potomac principal Jack Parker, Gar-Field principal Roger Dallek and Fred Milbert, Curriculum Supervisor of Art, Music, Physical Education, Driver’s Education and JROTC for Prince William County. That letter helped prompt an investigation by Potomac and the county into the dual residency issue.

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