Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Starting all the way back in November Daniel Brown began doing everything he could to prepare for his senior track season.
The City High senior upped his offseason training, grinding out runs in the winter, lifting weights and focusing on his diet.
All of that dedication during the offseason has Brown feeling like a different runner this spring but his biggest improvements haven’t been anything physical.
“I feel like my fitness and overall strength as a runner is ahead of where I have been at in the past but it’s more of the mental game that has changed for me from last year,” Brown explained. “Now I am the lead guy so it’s more mental for me, I’ve got to be the guy that leads everyone.”
For two seasons Brown was the youngster of a City High 4x800 squad that ranked among the best in the state.
Last season Brown was the lone junior with a trio of seniors on the City High 4x800 squad that won the 4A state title in 7:49.41.
After two years following the lead of departed seniors Jimmy Momberg, JP Rethwisch and Lucas Firmstone it is Brown’s turn to take the lead.
“Every day coming in and getting to see them work it has taught me a lot,” Brown said. “I learned a lot from them about how hard you need to work and I emulate them as best as I can.”
So far this season Brown is excelling in his new role.
Brown won the 800 in a time of 2:00.94 in the season-opening Washington Demon Relays last week, coming within two seconds of his best time from a year ago in his first outdoor race of the spring.
“I feel like all of the work that I have put in over the winter and workouts is paying off,” Brown said. “I feel like I am setting myself up to be where I want to be.”
While Brown has spent the past two seasons as the youngest of the City High relay group he hasn’t taken a backseat to anyone on the track.
He has earned medals in both the 4x400 and 4x800 each of the past two seasons.
Brown helped City High to a third-place 4x400 finish two seasons ago as a sophomore and was a member of the Little Hawks fourth-place 4x400 team last season that clocked the second fastest time in program history at 3:17.48.
In the season-opening meet last week Brown ran a pair of 400s, anchoring the City High sprint medley and 4x400 relay teams to fifth-place finishes.
“I use them both to my advantage. Since I am an 800 runner I know that endurance will be there when I am in the 400 and on the flip side in the 800 I know since I can run a good time in the 400 that I will have that foot speed at the end to out kick guys,” Brown explained. “I love both of them for different reasons.”
In anticipation for his final season Brown kicked up his training in November often rising early for morning runs during the winter.
That work is what Brown loves about the sport. That appreciation for the process is part of what he picked up from the past pack of City High 800 runners.
"It’s a grind that you have to go through,” Brown said. “You aren’t going to be good in this sport unless you work for it. It’s one thing I love about running is that you can be a naturally gifted athlete and your base times may be good but ultimately it comes down to who works the hardest.”
Did you enjoy this subscription free article? Help keep Your Prep Sports free by becoming a member.