|IOWA CITY, Iowa — The road to recovery has been long and extensive, but University of Iowa junior Brittany Brown’s return in 2017 has been exactly what the track and field team expected heading into today’s Big Ten Championships.
Brown fast-tracked her career as a freshman in 2014 with a Big Ten Championship in the 4×400-meter relay and a school record in the 60-meters. During the 2015 outdoor season, Brown became Iowa’s school record holder in the 200-meters, but in 2016, Brown missed the entire season due to an injury-riddled year.
“During the indoor season, I had two tears in my hip and it took a long time to recover,” Brown said. “Then I started outdoor and pulled my hamstring, so the whole year was done. It was a very up-and-down season for me.”
From injections to rehab to running on the track again, Brown’s return this indoor season has given the team a sigh of relief, especially when looking at her numbers.
This season alone, Brown has won four event titles in the 400-meters, 4×400-meter relay, 200-meters, and 60-meters and set two personal bests in the 400-meters (55.32) and 60-meters (7.39) to rank fifth and third in the Big Ten, respectively.
“I don’t feel the same, I feel better, and my mindset is better,” Brown said. “It is more humbling being out for a year. Obviously, you want to be out competing and winning, but mentally, I am now able to better control my mind and thoughts.”
The 2017 Big Ten Championships begin today in Geneva, Ohio, at the Spire Institute. Brown has put herself in prime position to a productive point scorer over the weekend as she tries to win her second Big Ten title.
“Everybody knows the 200-meters is my baby, but I believe I can do something in the 60-meters,” said Brown. “I have been working on it a lot in practice. I would like to make the final and finish on the podium.”
Brown has since lost the school record in the 60-meters that she set in 2014, but is making a strong push to break it again this weekend. She keeps in contact with current record-holder Lake Kwaza, who continues to train at the UI Recreation Building.
“She isn’t on the team anymore, but I see Lake at practice a lot and she thinks I can break the record,” Brown said. “She is always there pushing me and telling me to step up my mental game.”
Brown has always been more of an outdoor track athlete, but during her time out of competition, she sees much more value in competing indoors.
“For me, since I am not from the Midwest, indoors was never a big thing for me,” Brown said. “Now I am seeing that my indoor times can correlate to my outdoor times; I know I can be out there and compete with every girl in the Big Ten and NCAA.”
The Hawkeyes compete at the Big Ten Championships today and tomorrow. The meet will be aired on BTN Plus and BTN2Go.