GODFREY – Success hasn’t spoiled IHSA state champion LaJarvia Brown. Nobody figured it would, either.
The first female state track champion in Alton High history is still the same dedicated competitor she was last month when the sophomore won the Class 3A triple jump at Charleston.
“It’s the biggest thing that has ever happened to me, but I haven’t changed,” Brown said. “I’m staying focused and keeping humble.”
Brown has ample reason to brag, especially when she was toasted at school and honored by the city. Her state championship and an overall stellar season are why she’s the AdVantage News’ Female Track Athlete of the Year.
Her state-winning triple jump of 40 feet, 3.5 inches was best in all classes and registered as the fifth-longest leap in IHSA annals. She also finished sixth in the state long jump at 18-2.
Now she’s looking forward to some AAU regional competition on June 27-29 in University City, Mo. The top regional finishers quality for the nationals later this summer in Iowa.
“I hope to go to the nationals and do something there,” Brown said.
Head coach Terry Mitchell marvels at Brown’s progress. The 5-foot-2 dynamo, also a standout basketball and volleyball player, didn’t start triple jumping until near the end of her freshman season.
Now, she’s one of the best in state history.
“LaJarvia has had an outstanding year and I can’t get over the season she has had,” Mitchell said. Among other achievements, Brown re-established the school record multiple times the past season in the triple jump.
Mitchell added, “She is a very hard worker and believes in the talent and ability that she has possessed. And she is a great student and competes in three sports in high school.
“I wish all of our athletes had the work ethic and determination that she has. LaJarvia is basically a great person,” Mitchell said. “She has competed in a number of events for us this year and excelled in all of them.
“It’s amazing what she has done.”
Brown’s also an adept sprinter, competing in the 100-meters, the 200-meters and running on AHS relay teams. She has turned in a time of 12.6 seconds in the 100-meters and 26.3 in the 200-meters. Brown has run a 1:00.1 in the 400-meters, been clocked at 16.9 in the 100-meter high hurdles and gone 4-8 in the high jump.
She went undefeated in the triple jump this season, though Brown had to skip the Southwestern Conference meet at O’Fallon. An ankle injury sidelined her but didn’t slow her stride.
The following week, Brown won the triple jump and finished fifth in the long jump in the Rock Island Sectional. She was poised for state and actually won the competition the first day in the 42nd annual affair at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium.
“I knew after she jumped more than 40 feet on Friday (first day), nobody was going to beat her on Saturday,” Mitchell said. “I figured that LaJarvia was the only one that could jump 40 feet.”
He calculated correctly. Brown soared 40-2 the second day, giving her the first- and second-best triple jumps at the IHSA finals. She has two more years to aim at shattering the all-time triple jump leap in state history. Deana Simmons of Decatur MacArthur went 41-5 in 1996.
“I definitely want to win state two more times and get the (IHSA) record,” Brown said. “I know that if I keep working hard, I’ll eventually get it.”