EUGENE, Ore. -- When Texas A&M’s Kamaria Brown looks at the entrants for the preliminary rounds of the 200 meters at the Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, she will see a lot of familiar faces.
Eight of the 24 qualifiers are from the Southeastern Conference, including three from her own team.
It is that familiarity, however, that Brown said gives her and her teammates an advantage.“Being in the SEC for the last two years has helped me knowing how to go into the NCAAs knowing I might face the same people,” Brown said. “When we compete in the SEC it’s like a pre-national for the NCAAs. I think it prepares us really well. We’ve run against this [caliber of] people before so we know what to expect.”
While Brown might know what to expect from her competitors, her track career has been anything but predictable.
Even before the junior came to College Station, Brown was part of a controversy as a senior in high school that ruled her ineligible for her final year. She transferred to another high school but worried that she wouldn’t get any scholarship offers.
That angst was premature. The Aggies were more than willing to make her part of the family and she eagerly accepted the offer.
In her freshman year Brown lived up to her potential during the indoor season, finishing third in the 200 meter at the NCAA Indoor Championships and setting a conference meet record in the 200 earlier in the year.
In her first race of the outdoor season, Brown suffered a quadriceps injury and battled that and a knee injury the rest of the year. Despite the injuries, Brown competed in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, running the third leg of the 4x100 relay. The Aggies finished third in the team competition.
Her sophomore year, Brown again excelled in the indoor season, setting the school record in the 200 and helping the team finish second overall in the outdoor championships.
Injuries this year, including a strained hamstring, kept Brown out of the indoor championship and the SEC Outdoor Championship. It was especially disappointing since at the SEC Indoor Championships Brown became the first athlete in league history to win both the 200- and 400-meter events in the same weekend.
“Not participating in NCAA indoors was tough,” Brown said. “I didn’t get to compete in the finals at SEC. I am trying to make sure I stay healthy and focus on my races. I am ready now and I’m excited.”
Brown will be in both the 200 and the 4x100 relay, running the latter race with sophomore Jennifer Madu and juniors Ashton Purvis and Olivia Ekpone.
Expone, Purvis and freshman Aaliyah Brown will also be in the 200. Expone, Brown, Purvis and Madu are entered in the 100.
“We are very motivated,” Brown said. “Last year we got second and when I was a freshman we were third so we want to make sure we score enough points on the final day so we are in a good position.”
The Aggies are ranked second behind rival Texas, but Brown likes her team’s chances.
“We have a really great group this year,” Brown said. “Everyone has been training really hard this year and everyone did really well at SECs. It’s an exciting group and it’s going to be exciting to see what we do at NCAAs this year.”