Brown gets first taste of state atmosphere

Chris Steele
Josie Brown races at the Class 2A IHSA State finals at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Nov. 7.

The Lady Leafs’ Josie Brown has run at Detweiller Park in Peoria before.

However, not much can prepare a runner for the spectacle surrounding the IHSA state cross country meet.

A freshman, Geneseo’s Brown gained valuable experience competing at the Class 2A State finals on Nov. 7.

“At first, it seemed overwhelming,” Brown said. “It helped show what type of things we will need to change in our training. It was really nice to have the support of our team and everyone in the community. I think if we went to state as a team, it will be a lot of fun.”

Brown finished in 103rd place clocking in at 18:58 at the Class 2A State finals after advancing individually from the Normal University sectional field.

Northern Illinois Big 12 champion Yorkville won the team title and became the second program in history to win five consecutive state crowns in cross country.

Brown’s sectional running mate Maryjeanne Gilbert from Peoria Notre Dame won her second state title in 16:24.

“She gives me something to work toward,” Brown said. “She was trying as hard as she could, and it showed how hard she’s worked to win. We are all working toward being the best, but as long as you are the best, you can be, that’s all that matters.”

Brown and Geneseo coach Kelley Timmerman wanted to approach the season cautiously since she sustained a stress fracture in her leg this past spring.

Brown and Timmerman are expecting to make big strides again next season as she continues to build endurance and strength.