LaJarvia Brown signs with Texas A&M
LaJarvia Brown, a senior at Alton High and two-time Class 3A IHSA girls’ triple jump champion, signed Monday with Texas A&M University in College Station, 90 miles northwest of Houston.
GODFREY – LaJarvia Brown is going deep into the heart of Texas.
Brown, a senior at Alton High and two-time Class 3A IHSA girls’ triple jump champion, signed Monday with Texas A&M University in College Station, 90 miles northwest of Houston.
She also strongly considered Clemson, Kansas and North Carolina, but decided upon the Aggies, members of the Southeastern Conference.
“I’m super excited about it,” the 5-foot-3, 120-pound Brown said following a signing ceremony in the crowded AHS Auditorium. “I feel that it’s a big weight off my shoulders.”
She said there was little doubt that Texas A&M was her first choice, even though she visited Clemson, Kansas and North Carolina. A&M formerly was in the Big 12 Conference before joining the 14-team SEC — with Missouri — three years ago.
“I always wanted to go to A&M,” Brown said. “I love the college itself, the coaching staff and the facilities.”
Brown, who received a full scholarship, plans to major in physical therapy at Texas A&M.
The Aggies are getting the IHSA all-time triple jump leader. She soared 41 feet, 6.25 inches last season at the Tiger Relays in Edwardsville to set a state record. Since the end of the state season the past spring, she has leaped 41-9 in the triple jump and 19-7 in the long jump.
This spring, Brown will jump for her third straight IHSA championship in the same event. No AHS trackster, male or female, has done that. Redbirds’ Larry Perry (long jump, 1974-75) and Louis Enos (pole vault, 1907-08) were double winners in successive seasons.
“LaJarvia is as good of a competitor as I have ever coached,” said longtime AHS girls’ track coach Terry Mitchell, who was also a boys’ coach. “She’s right up there with the best athletes in Alton High history.”
Besides winning the state triple jump last season, Brown also finished fifth in the 300-meter low hurdles and sixth in the long jump. She figured in 19 of the Redbirds 24.5 points in the large-school state finals. Then she claimed national championships in the long and triple jumps during the AAU Junior Olympics the past summer in Norfolk, Va.
She also competed in the International Association of Athletic Federations World Youth Championships at Cali, Colombia and finished 14th overall in the triple jump. Her personal-best jump of 41-9 was second among the U.S. competitors.
Before the track season starts, Brown will play basketball and serve as the top player for the Redbirds. They open tonight in the AHS Girls Tip-Off Classic. The Birds meet Breese Mater Dei at 7:30 p.m. It’s Jersey clashing with Cahokia at 6 p.m. in the tourney opener. Alton will also play Friday and Saturday, the final day of the six-team tourney.
“LaJarvia is a competitor and I think the combination of basketball and track is good for her,” Redbird girls' basketball head coach Bob Rickman said. “Her work ethic and leadership are special.”