Friday, March 7, 2014
When she set the meet record at the Festival of Champions earlier this year, Waterville's Bethanie Brown ran her first mile in 5 minutes, 15 seconds. She finished the 5k course in 17:56.69, nearly a minute faster than her nearest competition.
Saturday, at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional at Van Cortland Park in The Bronx, Brown ran her first mile in about 5:40. She finished 11th with a time of 18:42.3.
Brown hopes the experience Saturday will help her prepare for her future as a Division I runner. She verbally committed to UConn earlier this month.
"I definitely feel a little inexperienced when it comes to that kind of racing," Brown said. "It was weird, instead of starting and just going for it, which I always do, there was a whole group of girls. It was a tactical race, too, and tactics may not be my strong point, I don't have to use them."
Brown often had little competition during her senior season of high school cross country. Even at the championship meets, she cruised the finish on her own. At the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship, she won by 1:07. She won the Eastern B race by 1:28 and the Class B state championship race by 1:05.
"That is kind of what I thought when I went to Foot Locker," Brown said when asked how she can prepare for racing tougher competition she'll face in college. "When I get to college, I'll be surrounded by girls who are really fast, some a lot faster."
Brown said she is relieved to have made her decision on where to attend school early. National Letter of Intent signing day for cross country and track and field is Feb. 6.
"It has been a tiring fall traveling all over the country," Brown said. "Now I can spend some weekends at home.
"It was neat," Brown said about the experience of picking a school. "I got to meet a lot of great college athletes, hang out with them for a while. It was kind of inspiring. I got to watch some workouts and it was kind of neat to watch college athletes. It got me excited for next year."
Travis Lazarczyk has worked at the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal since 2000. He covers football, basketball and baseball. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tlazarmaine