Carifta triple jump champ Lotavia Brown wants to carry form to Unversity of Texas

Athletics

Carifta triple jump champ Lotavia Brown wants to carry form to Unversity of Texas

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

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Pan American Under-20 and Carifta Games triple jump champion Lotavia Brown will continue her track and field career after accepting a scholarship to attend the University of Texas where she will join her Edwin Allen High teammate Kevona Davis.

Brown, who also won the Penn Relays title in 2018, is hoping to pick up where she left off after seeing the business end of the 2020 track and field season cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

All things being equal, she had her eyes on breaking the records at the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association championships (Champs) and Penn Relays in her final season in high school.

The athlete, who represented Jamaica at the junior level for the last three years, had numerous offers from American universities, but said the storied Texas “Longhorns” stood out to her for more reasons than one.

“I chose the University of Texas at Austin because they have a known history of producing high academic achievers and also of the high-calibre programme that the university has,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

“The institution produces good quality athletes and also has remarkable training programmes [and] this will enable me to reach greater heights,” Brown noted.

She claimed she had offers from other top schools, including Clemson University, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia.

Brown, who has seven passes in the Caribbean Examination Council exams, said she was “devastated” when she heard that both Champs and Penn Relays had been called off as she said she was aiming to go out with a bang.

“It was a devastating moment for me,” she said. “I was in my final year and had high expectations for myself of getting personal bests and not to mention smashing the Champs Class One record and Penn Relays record as well,” Brown added.

Both records are held by former Vere Technical jumper Kimberly Williams and both were set in 2007 with the Champs mark at 13.52m and the Penn Relays mark at 13.36m.

Brown's best legal mark is 13.15m set at Champs 2019, when she finished a surprise fourth place.

Her 13.03m achieved in 2018 is the third best at Penn Relays, as she won with a wind-aided 13.16m.

Over the last two years, Brown added the 400m hurdles to her repetoire and admitted it was an event she has long admired.

“Getting the chance to participate in it [400m hurdles] has made me realise that I can achieve so much more, as I compete in it at the university level against seniors,” she shared.

The hop, step, and jump is her favourite event, however.

“The triple jump has always been my favourite event, whether to watch or compete in. I can recall when I was a second-year Class Three athlete on a Thursday afternoon, which would have been triple and long jump day, I watched the bigger girls with admiration as they were doing their triple jump training and I then made a decision that this was the event I wanted to pursue in the future,” Brown explained.

The event has been good for her as she won medals in three-straight Carifta Games − a silver in the triple and bronze in the long jump in 2017 in Curacao; two silvers in 2018 in The Bahamas, and gold in the triple and silver in the long jump in the Cayman Islands last year.

Brown was seventh at the World Athletics Under-18 Championships in Kenya in 2017, and 10th a year later at the World Under-20 in Tampere, Finland, but “bounced back well” at the Pan American Under-20 in San Jose, Costa Rica, in 2019, upsetting Cuba's Leyanis Perez Hernandez with a wind-aided 13.22m (4.3m/s).

She says she will leave Edwin Allen High with great memories,.

“During my years at Edwin Allen there were many spectacular moments that have been etched in my memory. Some of these moments include getting the opportunity to participate and medal at Champs, but not only that but giving my school a chance to win the championships as well,” she said,.

“Also, being able to travel to different countries and observing different cultures have also been a tremendous moment in my life and career. Going to track meets and bonding with my teammates and even getting to know other athletes have been great; just getting the opportunity to do these and more have been spectacular,” Brown added.

Of all the people who have influenced her during high school, she said her jump coaches are the ones who have stood out the most.

“There are a number of persons that I could say have helped and motivated me throughout my track and field career, but my main motivators have been Jeremy Delisser and Kedine Geddes. They were my jump coaches, who dedicated their time and made it their point of duty to know what my goals were and that I was taking the right path into achieving them,” Brown ended.


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