Running toward the ‘the top 10′ at state
By: Warren Mayes
Parkway West sophomore Maddy Brown likes to finish strong. She saves something extra for that last burst on a cross country course and it has resulted in some big victories.
Brown won the 50th Hancock Invitational at Jefferson Barracks Park. The running Longhorn followed it with an equally impressive win in the 31st annual Parkway West Invitational, held on a new course at Living Word United Methodist Church in Wildwood.
Brown raced past top-flight competition in the Hancock to win in 19 minutes 5.68 seconds. She was just ahead of Lafayette freshman Sarah Nicholson. Eureka senior Angie Sumner came in third.
She claimed the Parkway West Invitational medal by finishing first in 19:08. That topped Summit senior Alyssa Jones, Nicholson and Nerinx Hall sophomore Sophia Racette.
Parkway West coach Charlie Cutelli said Brown deserved her wins in both races.
“It is very exciting for her to win these races back to back,” Cutelli said. “Last year she placed 15th and 20th in both of these races so it was a big step for her.”
The Invitational field was very deep and very talented again this year.
“Some of the top teams in and around St. Louis were present,” Cutelli said. “Lafayette, Marquette, Rockwood Summit, and Nerinx Hall. Over 20 girl teams represented with full team scores for 15 of them. Rock Bridge and Notre Dame De Scion drove in to run in the meet.”
Rock Bridge won the team title with 75 points. Lafayette came in second with 90 points to get past third-place Marquette by one point. Nerinx Hall was fourth with 108 points, while the Longhorns took fifth place with 132 points.
“The course was more challenging than I think coaches and athletes realized. It was a double loop with a small but steep hill on the back half of the course,” Cutelli said.
Brown said she enjoyed the course. She jogged it completely once before the race.
“I did some repeats on part of the course, too. That helped me,” Brown said. “It was great. The last part of the race was tough for me, but doing the repeats helped me get through it.”
Going into the race, Brown acknowledged her expectations were to run hard and well.
“I wasn’t expecting to win, that’s for sure,” Brown said. “I knew there were a lot of great people there, a lot of good racers. I was hoping to be in the top five near the end and see what happens.”
She did not have a game plan for the race. She wanted to go out and start with the pack.
“I did that really well at the beginning of the race,” Brown said. “At the finish, going up that last hill, I felt like I had more in me. I decided to go for it. I used advice my coach gave me. He told me the hill is steep, but it’s only 10 seconds of the race so just endure the 10 seconds of pain and get through it.
“That was fantastic advice. It really helped me. It’s a big hill but it’s only 10 seconds so just do it.”
At the end, it was Brown and Jones.
“We were neck and neck,” Brown said. “The freshman from Lafayette was just behind us. Alyssa caught up to me, and we were battling and I broke away from her.”
“I am really happy for her,” Cutelli said. “She is one of the most positive and humble runners on the team and it is exciting that she can combine that with athletic talent. She is a joy to coach.”
Brown just started running in her freshman year. She did run track in eighth-grade and middle schoo1.
“I wasn’t too determined yet,” Brown said. “My dad (Kerry Brown) told me I should run cross country. He said he thought I had some running talent. He’s a runner so I decided to try it.”
Each week, Brown tries to get in 30 to 35 miles of running. She practices with her teammates every day for 2.5 hours and there is a morning practice two days a week.
“It’s quite a bit of time training but I love working out,” Brown said. “I look forward to practice.”
For the rest of the year, Brown has some goals.
“I want to break my personal best time of 18:54. I want to get in the 18:30 and 18:40 zone,” Brown said. “I want to get in the top 10 at state this year. That would be fantastic.”