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Fear of disappointment fuels Brown
Fear of disappointment fuels Brown
By Daniel Maher
When Hampton’s Tierra Brown steps into Todd Stadium on Saturday to defend her state titles in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, she will wear her usual look of determination.
That look reflects a fear that has fueled her career.
Brown leaped onto the state track scene as a freshman, when she won the first of her two Group AAA state outdoor titles. She believes that success has kept her looking over her shoulder.
“I doubt myself a lot,” Brown said. “I think it came from getting my name out there as a freshman, because once you get known, you want to keep your name out there.”
That doubt makes her criticize herself, she says, and drives her to improve her state-winning 300 time of 43.03 seconds.
At last weekend’s Eastern Region championships, Brown opened with a meet record of 41.82 in Friday’s 300 hurdles preliminaries.
“I had set a target of 41, but when I got it the first day, I was like, ‘Gosh, what am I gonna do tomorrow? What am I gonna do next week?’ I really think I’ve got a 40 in me,” she said.
Brown’s speed on the baseball diamond and basketball court drew notice when she was a 12-year old, so she was steered to summer track. She began by running the 400 meters, but later thought about switching to the pole vault.
At age 13, her coaches channeled her talent into the hurdles. So when she began competing at Hampton as a freshman she was tapping into her talent.
Brown believes the junction of talent and technique occurred in her junior year, when she took some advice from Crabbers coach Ron Bayton.
“He (Bayton) started to emphasize that I’d run faster if I lowered myself. I was too high in the air going over the hurdles,” Brown said.
Her junior year ended with a pair of state titles (100 and 300 hurdles) that she is favored to defend on Saturday.
Even in success, though, Brown cannot always find satisfaction. In last Saturday’s Eastern Region finals, a 13.92 clocking in the 100 hurdles didn’t make her happy, even though it easily made her the region champ.
“That 13.9 made me so upset,” she said. “Everybody’s like, ‘Congratulations’. But I know I can do a lot better.”
Brown has a reason for higher expectations, after a 13.67 time in the 100 hurdles three weeks ago at the Nike Victor Cahoon Classic. That performance has her aiming for a time better than 13.6 at the state meet.
Such a time would produce a new state meet record and build on the success Brown had in mid-April at the Taco Bell Classic in Columbia, S.C.
Until then, no Peninsula District female had broken the 14.0 barrier in the 100 hurdles. Brown ran a 13.99 and entered the local record books, even though she finished second to South Carolina freshman sensation Jasmine Stowers.
Since then, Brown has bettered her Taco Bell Classic time on four more occasions.
“Right now, she’s in a zone,” Bayton said.
Still, she has the fear.
“My whole life is a fear,” said Brown, “because track careers only last so long. I don’t want to be one of those runners you never hear about again.”
Two more state titles would add to Brown’s status in Peninsula District track history, but already she is looking ahead to her collegiate years at the University of Miami.
“I want to be one of the top freshmen coming in,” Brown said. “Everything I’m doing now is really for college. I want to go in with my teammates thinking I’m going to bring something to them.”
Bayton says that Brown will bring an aggressive style and technique to Miami.
“When she gets to a meet, I don’t have to do anything,” Bayton said. “We don’t even usually talk. The best thing I can do is let her run. Tierra knows what she’s supposed to do.”
As for the fear that makes Brown tick?
“I think her fear is more that the event will defeat her than the competition,” Bayton said. “It takes a lot of work to get the strides and jumps down and get everything right.”
Bayton said he counsels Brown to keep her fears at bay by keeping her focus.
“You have a lot of influences from outsiders,” Bayton said. “Everybody thinks they can coach hurdlers. I tell her that once you close your ears to those outside influences, you’re a lot better off.”
For Brown, stepping on the track starts a transformation.
“People think I’m a mean, cocky person, but I’m just the opposite,” she said. “On the track, though, I’m all business.”
Last edited by Nick Mathews : 06-01-2007 at 02:30 PM.
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