“We’re real proud of Chris,” Valdosta track coach Alan Rodemaker said. “I think his best is in front of him.”
Brown is a versatile athlete, having competed in several events for Valdosta. This year, Brown was part of the Wildcats’ region champion 4×100 relay team. He finished second in Region 1-AAAAA in the triple jump, third in the 200 meter dash, was on the third place 4×400 relay team and was one of the best in the state in the 300 meter hurdles. He placed sixth in the triple jump at the state meet, and the 4×100 relay team took eighth.
Brown was a solid performer throughout his Valdosta career. But he had a real good senior year, thanks in large part to a new coaching staff and a new track event.
Rodemaker, Taz Dixon and Tyrone Lucas joined the track coaching staff last season. Under their guidance, the boys track team improved tremendously, and finished third in the region.
“The coaching staff was very different from the ones we had before. (They) had more experience. We had more coaches, so they could separate us and work with a group,” Brown said. “Overall effort was better. Harder practices. We were shocked, but we were happy at the same time that we were winning and scoring so many points. I give a lot of credit to the coaching staff.
“He taught me a lot of discipline, never to give up. He taught me how to run better, exercise better. That’s what made me love track.”
Early in the season, the coaches had Brown start competing in the 300 meter hurdles. Brown hadn’t been a hurdler previously, but he quickly began to excel in the event.
“What really got (the scholarship) for him, I think, was us moving him to the 300 hurdles,” Rodemaker said. “It just got him noticed by a lot of folks.”
Brown posted some of the best times in the state in the 300 hurdles throughout the year.
“The first time he ran it, it was like 39 (seconds) flat. He had one of the top five times in the state all year,” Rodemaker said. “The day he ran the 39 flat in Tifton, early in the season, I felt like he had a chance to earn a college scholarship on that one event.”
At the Region 1-AAAAA track meet, he was disqualified after a false start, but if that hadn’t happened, Rodemaker believes Brown would have won the region title and would have challenged for the state title in the 300 meter hurdles.
Brown also excelled in his other events.
“He was a triple jump force, he was on our 4×100 relay team that was in the finals of the state meet. He’s got a lot of ability,” Rodemaker said. “I’m sure they’ll do some more with him. He’s a sprinter. He can be a core guy at the next level. I think he can run the 400. I think he could possibly be a triple jumper or a long jumper.”
In 10th grade, Brown won the region title in the triple jump and helped Valdosta’s 4×400 relay team finish second. He placed seventh in the state in the triple jump his sophomore year and fourth his junior year.
Fort Valley is only about a two-hour drive from Valdosta, and Brown’s parents, Willie and LaShonda, plan to make it to as many home meets as possible.
“Very proud of him,” his mother said. “I knew he had potential to do pretty much anything he wanted to do, even with the books.”
Brown had a 2.9 grade point average at Valdosta, and scored a 21 on the ACT.
Brown plans to major in business management at Fort Valley State, and wants to become a sports agent. He also says he wants to try to make it to the Olympics. He’s even planning to try out for the football team, even though he did not play football in high school.