The LaJarvia Brown Impact has worked wonders for the Alton High girls’ track program.
Just check the numbers. Her sway is staggering.
Three years ago, the Redbirds didn’t score a point in the Class 3A IHSA finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. Brown was just a freshman learning the finer points of track and field.
The next year, the Redbirds logged 14 points and took 19th. Brown scored all of their points, including a first-place finish in the triple jump.
By 2015, they tallied 24.5 points and placed 8th. Brown accounted for 19 of those points and won her second triple jump championship.
Then last weekend at EIU’s O’Brien Stadium, the 5-foot-3, 120-pound senior delivered her most masterful performance. Brown finished first in the triple jump with an all-time best leap of 42 feet, 1.75 inches. She also won the 100-meter high hurdles in 13.89 seconds, was runner-up in the long jump at 19-2.5 and took third in the 300-meter low hurdles at 43.47.
All figured, the Texas A&M-bound phenom accounted for 35 points. The Redbirds got two more points from sophomore Katie Mans in the high jump. Their 37 points elevated them to second place in the large-school finals. Frankfort Lincoln-Way East amassed 83 points to log its fourth successive state championship.
Yet the Redbirds put themselves on the state track map after finishing fourth in the Southwestern Conference Meet and third in the Rock Island Sectional. They arrived, thanks to Brown.
“LaJarvia was outstanding. She was phenomenal,” Alton coach Terry Mitchell said. “I don’t know what else I can say about her.”
Brown’s work speaks for itself in her storied AHS track career. She gathered nine medals in three years at state and departs the prep scene as the best of the best in the triple jump.
In addition, she’s the only athlete in AHS annals to win four individual state titles, including three in one event. Several Redbirds have recorded two IHSA titles, including long jumper Larry Perry in 1974-75.
Four is reserved for LJB. She recorded her third and fourth championships on May 21.
“I don’t think all of this will really hit me until I get older,” Brown said of her influence on AHS and state track. “I just want to go into the (Alton) Hall of Fame someday.”
The Redbirds will reserve a spot for her.
“She’s an amazing person and she really inspires me,” said Mans, a sophomore. “LaJarvia is a role model for me. She’s going to do big things.”
Perhaps the U.S. Olympic committee will call her name someday. Starting this fall, Brown figures to be a key part of the Texas A&M track program. The Aggies belong to the power-packed Southeastern Conference.
However, before college starts, Brown will compete again in high-level summer competition. Last year, she posted a triple jump of 41-9 and long jump of 19-7 in action that stretched from New Mexico to Virginia to Cali, Colombia. The South American excursion was part of the IAAF World Youth Championships.
“I really enjoyed doing that last year,” Brown said of her national and international competition.
She has learned plenty about herself during her remarkable run. Mostly, it’s just doing what she does best — competing to win.
“I found out that I’m comfortable out of my comfort zone,” Brown quipped.
She made it quite comfy for the Redbirds at state and has served as the catalyst for the program’s growth.
“I’m hoping that what we did at state will get more girls to come out for track,” Mitchell said. “I know that having the team finish second at state is outstanding.”
That could be LaJarvia’s Legacy. She aided the Redbirds in lugging home a second-place trophy.
“She has fought hard for everything she has done,” Mitchell said.
It’s that consistent confidence that stirs Brown.
“I don’t doubt myself,” she said. “I really don’t know what to feel now that my high school season and career is over.
“I know I’m going to miss competing (for Alton), but I did what I wanted to do.
“I left my mark at the state meet and I left everything I had on the track.”
Follow #AdVsports on Twitter