SPRINGFIELD — In her final season in an Effingham County uniform, Olivia Brown can finally say she is a state champion.
The 100-meter hurdler for the Lady Rebels entered last week’s Class AAAAAA meet in Carrollton with the No. 1 time and set a personal record of 13.96 seconds.
It’s been a long time coming for Brown who clipped the fifth hurdle, fell and didn’t finish the race during her freshman season.
“It means a lot because I’ve really worked hard,” Brown said. “Nothing was given to me. For the past four years, I did not have a summer.
“I was running and training nonstop.”
Brown transitioned to hurdles her freshman season after being introduced to the event by her teammates. Brown finished as the runner-up her sophomore and junior year. This time around however, the veteran walked away with a first-place medal.
“I went in with a huge target on my back,” Brown said. “The entire season I was ranked No. 1 so everyone was out to get me.”
Brown finished third in in the preliminaries and that motivated her to put her attention only on those she felt could pull an upset.
“I went in with my mind set that if you are not in front of me, I am not worried about you,” Brown said. “I went into the race and focused on my lane.”
Brown is entertaining scholarship interest from USC-Beaufort, Savannah State, Lee University and Kennesaw State.
Six other Effingham County athletes competed in Carrollton, including Matthew Burnham. He finished second in the pole vault, clearing a 14-6.
Fellow vaulter Liam McDonald had an impressive showing with a fourth-place finish at 13-6 inches despite having an ankle injury.
Catherine Hall (12:42) and Candace Kieffer (12:56) finished 11th and 13th in the 3200-meter run, respectively.
Abby McDonald rounded cleared 7-6 in the girls pole vault, finishing 14th.