The next stop is South America for track athlete extraordinaire LaJarvia Brown of Alton High School. She continues to reach for the stars.
The Redbirds’ standout senior, a two-time Class 3A IHSA champion in the triple jump, has earned a berth on the U.S. team for the International Association of Athletics Federations World Youth Championships. They’ll play out later this month in Cali, Colombia.
“I told her that she could become the next Jackie Joyner-Kersee,” Alton girls’ track coach Terry Mitchell said. “She has that kind of ability. Some day she could become an Olympic athlete.”
He added: “Oscar Wallace and Larry Perry competed at the Golden West Invitational in California, but as far as I know, we haven’t had anybody compete in this kind of international competition.
“An athlete like LaJarvia comes along once in a lifetime.”
Brown leaped a career-best 41 feet, 7.75 inches during qualifying competition Wednesday at the USA track and field trials at Benedictine University in Lisle, a Chicago suburb. She finished second in her age bracket and thus secured a spot in Colombia. Tara Davis won the triple jump by going 41-10.75. Brown also competed in the heptathlon and qualified as an alternate for the IAAF Championships.
She threw the shot 33-4, posted a time of 14.9 seconds in the 100-meter high hurdles, went 5-3 in the high jump and turned in a time of 25.4 in the 200-meters. The 5-foot-3, 120-pound Brown also flung the javelin 102 feet, went 18-3 in the long jump and recorded a 2:35 in the 800-meters.
Her triple jump in Chicagoland topped her previous best of 41-6.75 during the recent AAU Midwest Nationals in Las Cruces, N.M. Brown, 17, went 41-2 in late May to successfully defend her large-school state title at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
“She has been on a roll the last two months,” Mitchell said. “So what she is doing is phenomenal.”
The international competition, featuring teen athletes (none older than 19), is set to run from July 15-19, with triple jump action beginning the afternoon of the first day. Prior to that, Brown will return to Chicago this Sunday and then leave with the U.S. team for Cali on July 9. She’s scheduled to remain in Colombia through July 21.
In addition to participating in the World Junior Championships, Brown will go to the AAU Nationals on Aug. 1-8 in Norfolk, Va. She will compete in the triple jump, long jump and 4x100-meter relay.
“Good things come to good people that work hard and LaJarvia is a good person and hard worker,” Mitchell said. “It’s great to see her have success like this.”
He’s coordinating efforts with Brown to get local sponsorships for her trips to Colombia and Norfolk, Va. For more information, contact Mitchell at 578-8326.