Hurdling toward success

BY JORDAN HANSEN | MAY 01, 2014 5:00 AM

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Standing 6-5, junior Keith Brown has the build of an elite athlete along with the work ethic and mind to go with it.

The only problem for the developing hurdler and occasional sprinter?

Putting it all together come meet time.

“When I just react naturally, things come together — which happens a lot in practice and not so much in meets,” Brown said. “I’m still developing and learning new techniques for the hurdles and becoming a better hurdler; I just need to put a race together.”

While good hurdles have been off and on for him yet this season, his sprinting — at least last week — was strong.

After not running in the prelims of the 4x100m at the Drake Relays, he was called into action for the finals and helped the team to season-best time of 39.99.

This despite finishing a disappointing 19th in his main event, the 110-meter high hurdles.

“It’s something that you have to be prepared for, I just left whatever happened in prelims out of my mind and focused on what has to be done in the finals,” Brown said. “I really enjoy the hurdles but it’s been frustrating right now, and I’ve had more enjoyment sprinting.”

Despite the discouragement about his hurdling recently, the consensus around the team is that he is still developing and improvement will eventually come.

Assistant coach Joey Woody has been especially optimistic about him and believes that he is about to provide some major contributions to the team.

“He’s one of those guys that I feel like has potential and talent to score in the Big Tens and be finalist in the high hurdles,” Woody said. “The 4x100 hasn’t completely come together for him yet, but you can see it’s there, and it’s really a matter of putting everything together at the right time.”

Admittedly, Brown has certainly had a bit of a learning curve over the last nearly two years after spending his freshman year at Iowa Wesleyan, but both he and Woody felt that things have been mutually beneficial.

“Working with Woody is a lot about listening and doing what he’s trying to get me to do instead of interpreting it,” Brown said. “It’s definitely helpful working with his knowledge, and he has a good hurdle background with guys like Jordan Mullin and Ethan Holmes.

“I have the tools and resources to be successful.”

One of those decorated former Hawkeyes, Holmes, has been around Brown a lot the past two years and still trains with him and the other hurdlers almost daily.

The decorated former Hawk feels that Brown has potential but like Woody, knows that he still has a bit of work to do to get the top.

“He came in his first year and had a few doubts about himself and let the new level of competition get into his head a little bit,” Holmes said. “But he came back this year, and he’s a whole different kid — I can tell you that.

“From last year to this year, he’s made huge strides, and I’m excited to see what he does next year.”

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