Brown is an AAU All-American

Chris Steele
Geneseo had a quartet competed in track and field at the AAU National Junior Olympics at Drake Stadium, in Des Moines, Iowa. Pictured are, from left: Abby Reakes, Tori Verbeck, Esther Brown and Josie Brown.

Geneseo’s Josie Brown earned All-American honors on the track at the AAU National Jr. Olympics.

Competing with the Mississippi Valley track team, Brown raced to a fourth-place finish in the 1500-meter run (4:52.54) to earn All-American status in the 17-18-year-old division at Drake Stadium, in Des Moines, Iowa.

A senior-to-be at Geneseo, Brown added a ninth-place finish in the 800 in 2:21.27 with events concluding on Aug. 4.

After returning from a vacation in Hawaii two weeks before nationals, Brown had to have faith she had done enough in her training to be ready.

“I just had to trust God and the process,” Brown said. “I’m grateful for all the people I have around me and all the positive support. I don’t know if I could have been an All-American without it.”

Brown felt uplifted by the support from her sister, Esther Brown, and fellow Geneseo teammates, Tori Verbeck and Abby Reakes, who also competed at AAU National Jr. Olympics.

“Being able to watch (Esther) compete at the national level is cool,” Brown said. “Seeing Tori excel and being able to do what she loves and watching her not be injured and compete was awesome.

“Abby and I are like best friends, and we love watching each other and give support to each other.”

Despite a 12th-place finish in the 800 at the Class 2A IHSA State meet, Josie wasn’t satisfied with the way her junior season had ended.

She saw the AAU track season as an opportunity to build upon what she was able to accomplish in the spring, but she had to change one thing.

“To do really well in summer track, you have to be having fun,” Brown said. “If you are having fun everything comes easier.”

A sophomore-to-be with the Lady Leafs, Reakes finished 17th clearing 4’11” in the high jump in the 15-16-year old division.

An AAU veteran, GHS’ Verbeck had a strong all-around showing in the 17-18-year old javelin, high jump and heptathlon.

A senior-to-be, Verbeck finished 17th in the javelin with a throw of 89’4”, and she was 30th in the high jump clearing 4’9”.

In the heptathlon, Verbeck finished 17th and had her best performance in the shot put finishing runner-up with a throw of 34’9”.

Reaks and Esther Brown helped Mississippi Valley track teammates Brooke Denato and Holyn Doran finish 42nd in the 4x400 relay in 4:36.02.