Butler Grizzly Shawn Brown returns this semester after rolling his ankle in a pick-up game of basketball early into the fall semester. In fact, the Grizzly is starting off this track and field season strong, doing well at the meet at Washburn University on Saturday, Jan 21.
“I won the 60, and I improved on my time, so I’m still No. 2 for JUCO [junior college],” Brown said. “Then I ran the 200 and I PR’ed [personal record]. I got the facility record, so that is a good thing.”
At the Washburn event, the Grizzlies did well overall, winning many of the events.
This season, this Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native set goals for himself, which he sees as a baseline.
“I want to see my 200 time (go down), but I slowed down,” Brown said. “If I keep working like how I am at practice, I feel like I will get to those goals and eventually surpass it. The goals I wrote down are a baseline of where I want to get to, and then once I hit that, I understand that I am at this point, so now let’s work harder.”
Coach Greg Franklin has also helped Brown with meeting these goals by watching film and doing various workouts.
Brown has a tough schedule to stick to with two face-to-face classes and the others, which meet online. Beyond that, much of his schedule is built around track and field practice. In the fall, the track and field athletes met nearly every day starting at 6 a.m. and then endured afternoon practices, but that has changed some this semester. Now the track and field team meet only once a week for a 6 a.m. practice where they lift weights or do yoga, and in the afternoon, they run and then focus on recovery.
Brown, who is a sprinter, does not run long distances.
“I do the shorter distances,” Brown said as he chuckles. “Anything over 400… I can’t do it. My body heats up. I would do the 400, the 200, the 100 and the 60.”
Surprisingly, this No. 2 standout at the national level did not get involved in track and field until his freshman year of high school. Throughout most of his childhood, he played football, and it wasn’t until his father’s encouragement that he went out for track and field to help with football and his speed.
“I didn’t really take track seriously until my sophomore year, and that is when I started running fast,” Brown said. “Plus, track, at the moment, was something different, so it brought more joy because football I was used to. Since I did a new sport, it was a new attraction for me.”
Brown, a Central Dauphin East High School graduate, describes his high school team as a family and his coach as a “father figure.”
“I still talk to him now,” Brown said. “The main reason we ran good was because of the bond we had with him. Our group was two sets of brothers, two other friends and our coaches were a dad and son, so it was a family. They trusted us, and we trusted them, so everything came easier.”
Brown learned about Butler in the spring of 2020 when he would be graduating high school. Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, this prevented him from taking a trip to the El Dorado campus. Coach Franklin reached out to Brown over the phone
“My parents felt like I needed to go far, to get away from everybody and focus,” Brown said. “They felt like when I was in the area (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), I would get distracted too much. I wouldn’t take stuff as seriously as I needed to. They felt like coming out here (El Dorado) would make me grow up.”
Following Butler, his journey from home may get even farther as his first choice is the University of Houston in Texas. Brown is also looking at other programs in University of Minnesota and Pittsburgh University. On his visit to the University of Houston, he liked the facility and program, and American track and field athlete and Olympian Carl Lewis was also a Houston Cougar.
For now, Brown focuses on this track and field season and surpasses the goals he has set for himself.