Mitchell Brown, center bottom, is flanked by Paula Brown and Reggie Brown. Back row, from left: Polk County athletic director Brandon Schweitzter, assistant coach Dewayne Elliott, Jordan Brown, assistant coach Jenny Wolfe and principal Mary Feagan.

For his home for the next four years, Mitchell Brown found a place that felt just like the one he’s leaving.

So said the Polk County senior about Winston-Salem State, where Brown is bound after signing a national letter-of-intent on Friday to run cross country for the school. Brown signed his letter during a ceremony in the school library.

Part of Polk County’s conference champion cross country teams the past two seasons as well as owner of two indoor state championship medals with Wolverine relay teams, Brown had several options for his college choice.

But the opportunity to run for Inez Turner, a former Olympian, and the Winston-Salem program proved the decision in the end.

“It felt like being at home, like I felt back on the track with (Polk assistant coach Jenny Wolfe) and talking to the coaches and what I did with them,” Brown said.

“I’m really excited. I never thought I’d get the chance to find a place that felt good to me and felt like home.”

Wolfe expects the Rams to soon feel just as warmly about Brown, the younger brother of Polk County graduate Jordan Brown, now playing soccer at Brevard College.

“Mitchell has developed a passion for running that you don’t see in a lot of athletes,” Wolfe said. “He sat on a seesaw his freshman year, considering following in his brother’s footsteps and playing soccer.

“But his passion and his love for running are inspiring.”

Winston-Salem State currently has no track program, having cut the program a few years ago. But Brown said there are indications that the sport could return during his time there, and if so, Wolfe expects Brown to thrive there as well.

“What is going to benefit him the most in college is running longer distances,” she said. “We run a 5K. He’ll move up to 8K for cross country. If they do develop a track program, he’ll be a 10K runner.

“With him, distances are not something he shies away from. The longer the distance, the better. He’s a true distance runner.”

Brown hopes to pursue a degree in exercise physiology and eventually obtain a doctorate in physical therapy.

“I’m really very excited and blessed to have this opportunity,” Brown said. “Once I visited Winston-Salem State, it was a no-brainer. I instantly felt like I needed to go there.”