Iowa senior Brittany Brown isn’t focusing on going out in a so-called “blaze of glory.”
An All-American sprinter from Upland, Calif., Brown has only two goals heading into her final NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which begin Wednesday in Eugene, Ore.
“The best race for me is a good start and a good finish,” she said. “I’m going to control what I can control ... that’s when winning comes.
“I’m not worried about the clock. I’m worried about what I can control.”
Don’t get Brown wrong. She’d love to end her Hawkeye career with a gold medal — or two. But simply running a smart race is all she focuses on.
“I want to do the best, compete the best,” she said.
Brown will compete in the 100-meter dash Thursday and her specialty, the 200 dash, on Saturday.
She is a four-time NCAA qualifier in the 200, placing seventh last year after finishes of 11th as a freshman and 17th as a sophomore. This is the first time she’s qualified in the 100.
“There’s a lot of girls out there who are pretty exceptional,” Iowa Coach Joey Woody said about the 200. “But she’s in the mix. She’s in the conversation.”
Woody said the key is simply making the finals and getting a good lane. Then anything can happen.
“She’s definitely got a lot of talent,” he said.
Brown’s low-key approach to the NCAA meet is just her personality, Woody said, likely from being “under the radar” as a high school sprinter at Claremont High School. She was a state runner-up in the 100 and 200 but was “not really highly recruited,” Woody said. “I think she always had that kind of mentality, that underdog” mentality.
Brown was unsigned entering the state meet her senior year. Soon after, she visited Iowa on the advice of a friend who told her about associate head coach Clive Roberts — “I didn’t even know where Iowa was on the map,” she said — and the two hit it off.
“I wanted a good coaching relationship,” she said. “That was big for me.”
Then she went out and won the 100 at the 2013 USATF National Junior Olympics.
“I just wanted to go to college,” she said. “I always knew I wanted to run in college.
“I knew I had the talent. I knew I could run fast.”
She definitely can do that.
She owns school records in the 100 (11.28 seconds) and 200 (22.76) outdoors. She also has the indoor 200 (22.79) standard and ranks second in the 60 (7.39). She’s the first Hawkeye woman to run under 23 seconds in the 200. She’s won the 200 dash at the Big Ten indoor and outdoor meets the past two years.
“I’m truly blessed, truly thankful,” she said. “It’s been a great five years ... There’s no way I would have expected all this to happen.”
And she’s not done. There’s this weekend, of course — “that possibility (of winning a national title) is now,” she said — and there’s running as a professional.
“Track has taught me a lot about myself,” she said. “It’s taught me the mind is very powerful.
“I love track ... it’s made me look at things universally.”
She’s not talking about what’s next — yet. But Woody said the 100 likely is her future.
“It will open more doors,” he said. “... way more opportunities.”
Like when she left Claremont High School, Brown just wants to run.
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“I’ve been given an ability and I want to use that to the best of my ability,” she said.
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