Quran Harris (CS photo by Jaclyn Lippelmann)
Quran Harris (CS photo by Jaclyn Lippelmann)

Quran Harris, a member of the class of 2018 at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, has the distinction of being named Carroll’s female athlete of the year, and also playing on the school’s baseball team for the past two years, joining her teammates, who were all boys.

Two years ago, she was attending a Washington Nationals game with a friend, expressing how much she liked baseball, and the friend encouraged her to try out for Carroll’s team. She did, and made the squad, playing second base. During her sophomore year there, she had played for Carroll’s softball team, but for her next two years, she played on its baseball team.

“There were different times where I could prove I could play just as well and not be treated differently than anyone else on the team,” said Harris, who said teammates at first seemed to throw the ball softly to her.

In her first game playing for Carroll’s baseball team, she felt a lot of pressure to do well. Then, when a shallow fly ball was hit toward her in the infield, she said, “I remember running up and diving for it, and I made that out.”

In her senior year at Archbishop Carroll, Harris played a number of positions on the Lions baseball team, including second base again – her favorite position that she says “just feels natural” – and also shortstop, third base and pitcher.

“My second year, it changed for the better,” she said. “My teammates actually played baseball with me. Instead of treating me as the girl on the team, they treated me like anyone else.”

In her junior year, Harris did a research project on gender equality in sports, examining women’s efforts to play baseball and also government regulations regarding equal opportunities for both sexes in school athletic programs. She produced a related slide show and social media campaign for her social justice class.

She noted that this past year, Carroll brought back lacrosse as a school sport, and some girls joined the team.

Harris also started on Carroll’s volleyball team for her sophomore, junior and senior years. She enjoyed participating in that sport, noting, “Volleyball allows you to be aggressive toward the ball. I like playing with my friends on the volleyball team and playing different positions. Everyone has to serve and play defense. In the front row, you have to set or hit, so I had the opportunity to do both.”

This fall, Harris will attend Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she received an academic scholarship and plans to major in psychology. She hopes to play volleyball and might transition back to playing softball instead of baseball.

Harris was her class salutatorian at Archbishop Carroll and a candidate for a diploma in the school’s International Baccalaureate program, where her favorite classes include IB history and biology. For Harris, achieving the rank of second in her class “was a tangible symbol of my hard work these last four years, and how hard I pushed myself to do my best in class.”

Reflecting on her interest in psychology, she said, “I just find it fascinating to understand why people do what they do, or why they think what they think.” Harris hopes to earn a doctorate in psychology and work in clinics before eventually opening up her own practice.

Harris, 18, lives in Washington and is the daughter of Deanna Patterson and Charles Harris. While at Carroll, she served in student government, as class president during her freshman year and then as a sophomore class representative.

She also participated in Archbishop Carroll’s theater program. In “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” Harris portrayed Lucy, who fittingly is the psychiatrist for the Peanuts gang, and in “Sister Act,” she was Mother Superior.

“Theater allows you to put yourself in somebody else’s perspective,” she said. “That opens up your eyes to how other people live their lives.”

Her varied Carroll activities taught her the importance of time management, Harris said. “There would be days when you have games and a paper due,” she said. “You learn how to balance games and homework.”

Katy Dunn, the principal at Archbishop Carroll, noted, “Quran constantly seeks new ways to challenge herself and those around her,” including in classroom discussions and on the ballfield. “I know that she will do remarkable things,” the principal added.