Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
|By JACK ROSSI
|EUGENE, Ore. — Junior Brittany Brown has lit the track on fire during 2017 for the University of Iowa track and field team and she enters the season finale in position to become an NCAA champion.
Brown is the No. 3 seed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships after finishing second (22.31) at the NCAA West Preliminary in Austin, Texas.
“It’s a good feeling to be back,” Brown said. “Last time I was here was my sophomore year, so it’s a good feeling to be back in TrackTown USA.”
Brown is attempting to make Iowa history this weekend. If she finishes top eight, she would become the first woman in program history to be a first-team All-American in the 200 meters. She has been here twice before, grabbing second-team All-America honors in the 400-meter relay and 1,600-meter relay in 2014 and honorable mention in the 200 meters in 2015.
However, the luxury of staying healthy made its way to the forefront in 2016.
A combination of frustrating injuries forced Brown to miss most of the 2016 season. It was a long offseason, but she has returned to the track better than ever this season. Brown has accumulated two Big Ten Championships, both indoor (22.69) and outdoor (22.30) in the 200 meters, and she is a favorite to reach at least the podium this weekend.
“It feels good to say that it has been an entire year and that I’ve finally completed a year,” Brown said. “It was constant work (to stay healthy). It was a lot of meeting with the trainers and meetings with the masseuse or chiropractor, so it wasn’t difficult but the little things were a lot to do.”
Now completely healthy and an upperclassman, Brown is doing things on the track that she didn’t think were possible.
“It’s more so in practice when we do fast stuff,” Brown said. “What I do in practice correlates to what I do on the track and when I get on the track and do it in a meet, it still shocks me. It doesn’t shock my coaches, but it’s shocking to me.”
During the regular season, Brown won the Big Ten title at Penn State with the second-fastest time in the country (22.30), broke her own school record twice, and ran the final leg on the winning 4×100 relay at the Drake Relays (45.17).
Heading into her race this weekend, Brown will continue to do what she has been doing all year long. The rest will take care of itself and worrying about what she can control eases her mind.
“I am going to execute my race,” Brown said. “Times will come no matter what, but I just focus on my start, focus on what I need to do, and not worry about anything else. Everything else will come. I don’t think about first, second, or third place.”
Brown will race in the 200 meter semifinal on Thursday at 6:44 p.m. (CT), live on ESPN2 with the finals set to take place Saturday at 5:07 p.m. on ESPN.