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|Huntington's Brown clears hurdles|
What started as a tough year for Huntington junior Abi Brown finished with a bang.
Other private schools in the area began begging her to come to their school even before the first bell rang, She went through a coaching change in basketball and then there was an illness she couldn't seem to shake at the start of the track season.
"It has been kind of a tough year," she said. "But it turned out good."
It turned out gold for Brown, who won the MPSA Class A title in the 300-meter hurdles and her first-ever state championship in the 100-meter hurdles.
"I really wanted to win the 100 because I had never won that before," Brown said.
Lzst year, the Lady Hound junior won the 400-meter dash and was second in the 100-dash at State, but decided to concentrate on the hurdles this season.
Brown won the 300-hurdles in a time of 47.47. She set the state record in that event two years ago (48.98) before it was broken last year in a time of 45.60 by a runner from Veritas.
Brown, who has won 10 medals in State competition since her freshman year, captured the 100-hurdles in 15.43. The state record is 14.95.
"I was really determined to get my time down," she said. "I believe I am a better hurdler now. I have gotten stronger and been working real hard on my form. It takes years of practice."
Brown uses three steps in-between hurdles, which is rare among high school hurdlers.
"That's what college girls use," Brown said.
Brown began playing fast-pitch softball last August as the Lady Hounds formed a team after dropping the sport two years ago.
Brown said she had calls from other schools, but loves attending Huntington and has no desire to go elsewhere.
"I really like all the people here at Huntington," she said. " I'm looking forward to my senior year. Hopefully we can get some more girls in here and be more competitive."
Brown will serve as president of the Student Council next year.
"I want to be a good example and someone that the underclassmen can look up to," Brown said.
Brown credits Lady Hound track coach Penny Moak with her success.
"Coach Penny is an amazing track coach," Brown said. "She really pushes me. She has helped me get better and better. She is my top motivation. She's a big reason I don't want to go to another school."
When Brown became ill, Moak took her to husband's office where Dr. Huey Moak discovered Brown is anemic.
"I have to eat liver three times a week," Brown said. "That's horrible. But it came down to doing that and taking vitamins or else I would have to slow down, and I love sports. I couldn't do that."
Huntington's girls finished third at State last year, but the loss of Amberlee Collard and Phyllicia Woods left huge voids in the team this season. Brown was the lone sprinter at State competing from the Ferriday school.
"It was a lot harder running by myself," she said. "You don't have that team motivation factor. I had to rely on self-motivation."
Brown said it was especially hard training early in the year without the usual number of teammates to work out with in practice.
"I spent a lot of time pushing myself," she said. "I was hot and tired and ready to go home. But I would stay and push myself anyway. I was just focusing on getting my time down."
Brown said she has always been a accident-prone, breaking eight bones growing up, including one in her foot which made her quit cotillion, which her mother made her take to make her more feminine.
"My leg was really jacked up and there was no way I could still do that," Brown said. "At least it got me out of that."
Brown had 32 stitches placed in her head after being pushed off a balance beam.
"I've always been reckless," she said.
Brown is now competing in summer league ball and is looking forward to fast-pitch softball and basketball in her final year at Huntington.
"I want to win here," she said. "I am a very competitive person. I don't like losing. I'm looking forward to being a top dog as a senior. I'm very loud and I'm looking forward to being a leader next year."
And beyond that Brown hopes to continue jumping hurdles at Louisiana-Lafayette, where her brother, Striker, has been a member of the triathlon team.
"Next to Coach Penny, Striker is my biggest motivator," she said. "He always talks to me about sports and doing well in the classroom."
But Brown still has some unfinished to attend to in her senior season at Huntington.
Can she regain the state record in the 300-hurdles?
"Heck yeah," she said. "I'll always be a competitor."
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