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Sprinter sets high goals

BY CHARLIE GREEN | JULY 01, 2015 5:00 AM

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Heading to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, on June 10, track sophomore Brittany Brown had her sights set on making the finals and earning distinction as a first team All-American.
Hampered by hamstring cramps, she fought her way to 17th place — earning honorable-mention honors instead.

“Coming into nationals last year at regionals, I set a personal record,” Brown said. “This year, I wasn’t able to because I had a hamstring kind of tweak in prelims. It cramped up, and I’ve never had that happen before.”

Coming off a second-place finish in the 200 meters at Big Ten Championships, in which she set an Iowa record with a time of 22.89, Brown believed she was primed to reach the finals in Eugene — which would have required a top-10 finish.

Nonetheless, if Brown’s first two years at Iowa are any indication, Iowa track and field has yet to see her reach her potential.

The soon-to-be junior got off to a blazing start to her college career, earning second-team All-American honors as a freshman in 2014 after finishing 11th in the 200 meters.

Brown has also enjoyed success in the 400-meter relay, anchoring a group that finished first at Big Tens and earned second-team All-American accolades in 2014.

This summer, the California native is focused on rehabbing a hip injury and coming back stronger and faster, with her sights set on personal records in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.

After a sophomore year characterized by unexpected and nagging injuries, Brown takes nothing for granted.

“Going into [last] season, I thought I could do a lot more, and out of nowhere, my hip started acting up, and at regionals my hamstring cramped up,” Brown said. “It’s very humbling, and it pushes me a lot for next year, hoping that I can get my hip fixed and get back on track.”

Brown is one of several talented female runners coming back for Iowa. Elexis Guster, who earned honorable mention All-American honors at nationals, also has two years left as a Hawkeye. Lake Kwaza and MonTayla Holder are set to begin their senior years.

But Brown is perhaps the most intriguing, given what she is capable of doing after a couple months off to let her hip heal properly.

“I really want to go to indoor nationals; it’s really hard because they take fewer people than outdoors,” she said. “It’d be really awesome to be an indoor All-American.

“Outdoors, I want to be an All-American, top three in the 200.”

And if the drop-off at nationals between her freshman and sophomore seasons provides Brown with anything, it could be motivation to reach those goals next season.

It’s long way off, but that may give her more time to replay the moment in her head.

“I came out of it knowing I wanted to make finals, Oregon’s always a tough place for me to run,” Brown said. “I know I should have made that final and been an All-American … it’s bittersweet.”


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