CHARLESTON – LaJarvia Brown smiled at the mention of holding a state trophy awarded to the top three teams at the Class 3A state girls track meet.
“If we get a trophy, I’m going to cry,” Brown said after producing the last of her 35 points that single-handedly earned the Alton Redbirds a second-place state finish. “And I don’t cry. Well I do cry, but not in public.”
The big trophy the Redbirds brought back to Alton from Eastern Illinois on Saturday simply reads “State Second Place Girls Track & Field Class 3A.”
Brown’s performance was certainly worthy of engraving.
The 5-foot-3 senior signed with Texas A&M ended her prep career with a remarkable display. She set school records in three events while winning state championships in the triple jump and 100-meter high hurdles, placing second in the long jump and third in 300 intermediate hurdles.
“That’s quite a day,” Alton coach Terry Mitchell said.
The Redbirds were never a threat to Lincoln-Way East, which piled up 83 points to defend its Class 3A state championship. It is the fourth successive title for the Griffins since Edwardsville won state in 2012.
Alton began the season with a goal of winning a state trophy and Brown delivered enough scoring to secure runner-up hardware. The Redbirds, who also scored two points off sophomore Katie Man’s seventh-place finish in the high jump, scored 37 points to beat Hinsdale Central and Oswego East, who tied for third with 30 points.
“I really don’t know how to feel because my high school season is over,” Brown said after giving up the lead in the final 50 yards of the 300 hurdles to place third in her final event. “I’m going to miss competing for Alton and being with coach Mitchell and all the coaches and all the girls.
“But I did basically what I wanted to. I wanted to go 4-for-4, but 35 isn’t bad either. I’ll take that.”
Brown’s day began with a runner-up finish in the long jump at 19 feet, 2.5 inches. Chicago Heights Bloom sophomore Hannah Morris won with a jump of 19-3.
Brown then went big in her signature event, setting an all-time state record with a leap of 42-1.75 to claim her third consecutive state championship in the triple jump. She broke the 20-year-old mark of 41-5 set by Decatur MacArthur’s Deana Simmons in 1996.
“I think it’s just when I get around competition, I know I want to win,” Brown said. “There were several girls that were over 40 coming in, I was seeded like fifth. I wanted to get that record.”
Brown then went to the track to turn in school records in both hurdles races. She led from start to finish to win the 100 hurdles in 13.89 seconds. Brown then closed with a run of 43.47 to place third in the 300 hurdles.
The day left her with no regret and little energy.
“I gave it everything I had,” Brown said. “I am dead tired.”
The medal was the second for Mans, who was one of seven high jumpers to go 5-6 behind two that cleared 5-7. The Redbirds also had senior Chayvon Buckingham in the finals. She finished 12th in the shot put at 38-9.75.