Minor disappointment on the track and field circuit last spring served as a major motivation this fall for Truman cross-country runner Justin Brown.

Minor disappointment on the track and field circuit last spring served as a major motivation this fall for Truman cross-country runner Justin Brown.

A 1,600-meter competitor at the Class 4 sectional track and field meet last May, Brown left the meet more than 20 seconds shy of qualifying for state.

 Dedicated work over the summer and extreme focus on the cross country trail helped Brown place 20th at this year’s Class 4 state cross country meet with a personal-best time of 16 minutes, 21.99 seconds, good enough for all-state honors.

Brown finished eighth at the Class 4 sectional cross country meet in a time of 16:31.31, at the time a personal best. He also helped Truman finish second as a team at the District 8 meet when he finished the 5-kilometer course in fourth place with a time of 17:42.68.

“After barely missing state (in track) by like 21 seconds,” Brown said, “I was kind of mad about that so I really wanted to hit this year hard. I was actually kind of nervous coming into this year.

“Then after (a teammate’s father) told me I can go to state and I can do very well, I started trying harder and harder. I kept on training and eventually made it all the way through sectionals and state. I was speechless (after making all-state). I didn’t know what to think.”

Not only did Brown gain all-state recognition for his fall season, he also earned The Examiner’s 2010 Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award.

“Oh, wow!” Brown said upon news of the honor. “Sweet! That’s awesome. I was not expecting that at all.”

 Also a member of the EJC Track Club, Brown participated in the Nike Cross Country Regional meet in Terre Haute, Ind., in November, where he finished third out of 273 runners in the 5K open division race with a time of 16:32, the highest individual finish for the club.

Brown and Truman teammates Harrison Harmon, Michael Frazier and Austin Lightner all participated in morning offseason training sessions to prepare for the season.

Randy Maglinger, Truman’s cross country coach, said Brown had a remarkable season, and it came as no surprise to him that Brown would come out focused and determined during the season.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” Maglinger said of Brown’s success on the course this season. “He’s put in a lot of time since track season. He really dedicated himself over the summer. He’s learning what it takes to be a fluid runner and he’s starting to learn what it takes to be a leader.”