As the Good Counsel track & field team has developed into one of the finest programs in the state, Chris Brown has gradually developed from a small, skinny runner into one of the strongest sprinters in the state. Now just days before the WCAC Championship, Brown may be the key to this year's Good Counsel team which has a legitimate shot at winning the title for the first time since the WCAC was created in 1993. His ability to consistently run under 50 seconds in the 400 matched with his versatility in all three sprint relays makes Good Counsel a formidable challenge for all opponents. His strict workout regime both in-season and out-of-season is a testament to just how far an unwavering work ethic and desire to succeed can take you.
MoCoRunning: Hey Chris. How was the Penn Relays? Tell me all about it.
Brown: Penn Relays was a lot of fun; it was a completely different experience from last year. Our 4x100 did not run so well in the prelims (mostly because of handoffs) but we were lucky enough to make small school championships. The finals were unlike any other race I have ever run in before. The stadium was jam-packed and the crowd’s intensity was as high as can be. I could do nothing but smile because the whole experience was so surreal. It was a once in a lifetime chance and I could not be happier that I had the opportunity to run in a race so big and prestigious. We ended up running a 42.84 and got fourth. We are happy with our performance, but we realize there are still things to improve upon. In the 4x400, our first leg was tripped up and fell, but given those circumstances we are happy with our performance (3:27). Unfortunately we were later DQed because of some “words” between one of our relay members and a member from an opposing team. Overall though it was a successful weekend and I am proud of all of our teams performances
MoCoRunning: What about your favorite race that you watched?
Brown: My favorite race was the High School boys 4x400 championship. It was close the entire time, and very exciting to watch. Plus I have run against some of the people in the race (Meade and Bethel) so it was fun to watch them do well and represent the MD/DC/VA area. I also liked the taunting from Jamaica during the final leg. That is also fun to watch.
MoCoRunning: You guys definitely bounced back at the Draper Relays a week later winning the 4x1, 4x2, and 4x4 in season best times. Were the handoffs perfect or can they still use work?
Brown: No, actually not at all, the handoffs were the farthest thing away from perfect, in every relay (but especially in 4x200 and 4x100). It was weird how we still did our best. Everybody on all the relays just ran really well. It excites us, though, to think about what our times could be if our handoffs were perfect.
MoCoRunning: Exactly how late were you out the night before Draper?
Brown: I was out until 5 in the morning the night before Draper because of prom and post prom. Our post prom did not end until around 4:30, then I had to drive home. I was actually a little worried how I would run the next day because of the late night, but prom is only once in my life so that was definatly more important to me, and Coach Buddy was very understanding of that. He knew the circumstances and just wanted me to do my best.
MoCoRunning: We'll get back to this season in a minute, but let's go back a few years. What was it like running track for Good Counsel your freshman and sophomore years?
Brown: My freshman year our boy’s team was not very good at all. Good Counsel was only known for having a good girl’s team. Plus I was not very fast at all my freshman year. It was not until that summer that I had a growth spurt and became a little faster, even still though, sophomore year I was nothing special. But the thing that helped me the most was the addition of Coach Buddy [Crutchfield] half way through the season. He and the coaching staff are responsible for what I am now. They helped me realize my true potential, and never gave up on me. And most importantly they never let me give up on myself.
MoCoRunning: What was your reaction knowing that Coach Buddy was coming in to help out your program? How did you react when all of the talented athletes began to move in and push you aside?
Brown: Coach Buddy first came half way through my sophomore year and even with half the season gone he still improved our team enormously. So naturally I was excited about the upcoming season the following year. I wanted to see what he was going to change and how much better we were going to be. Unfortunately, one of the things he changed was me. We had a group of football stars join the team, which pushed me back from the team’s top sprinter the previous year to a hopeful alternate. But even that didn’t happen; I was not even an alternate for the 4x100. I was very discouraged but after some negotiation with the coaches, they finally agreed to give me a chance and give me a tryout for the 4x100 for one meet. Luckily I did well enough to stay on the relay team. Throughout the rest of the year I kept improving, and although I may not have been the top sprinter on the team I was at least one of the top sprinters, which was good enough for me considering the large amount of talent we had.
MoCoRunning: It seems to me that you've made a big jump from a strong relay member to an elite runner in the 200 and 400. Call me crazy but it also looks like you've bulked up a lot. What were you up to between the summer track season and the winter track season?
Brown: Last spring the relays were our strongest event because we had so much talent. So that is what we concentrated on during summer track, and that is what gave us the most success. Even last season, there was talk about me moving events to become a 400 runner but that never happened until this past winter season. Indoor was meant to be a warm up and mostly a training season for our team for the spring season so we tried some people out in different events. That is when the coaches decided to finally try me out in the 400. The original intention was to keep me running the race during indoor only to get me ready for the 200 in outdoor. Once I learned how to run the race I got pretty good at it and became our top 400 runner. So when outdoor came there was no debate, I was now a 400 runner and that would be one of my events during the outdoor season. And all that practice in the 400 did end up helping me out greatly in the 200. The two events kind of go together, at least for me.
I have always played soccer in the fall but after summer track I wanted to devote my time to track and focus more on it. I realized I had to get stronger if I wanted to get faster so the decision was easy. I quit soccer and started a strict weight lifting regime every day after school along with speed work after that. I did that every day all fall, and it really paid off. I was much bigger, stronger, and faster before the indoor season even started.
MoCoRunning: Tell me more about the lifting and speed work you did last fall. Can you describe a typical week? Did you do this all by yourself?
Brown: I did the speed work and lifting all fall. A typical week usually involved weight lifting Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday after school until about 6. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after lifting I would do speed work which usually was some kind of hills or sprints involving parachutes or harnesses. Most of the time i did them by myself but occasionally my teammates Brandon and Jordan would do them with me.
MoCoRunning: For the young aspiring sprinters out there who want to start a lifting regime or maybe for those sprinters who don't think that lifting is that important, can you try to describe some of the benefits of such a strict and disciplined lifting regime?
Brown: I used to think that lifting was not that important for track. I lifted but never on a strict regime for the sole purpose of getting faster. It makes a huge difference, if you put in the time. If you dedicate your offseason to it you will notice the results and you will feel so much faster and stronger. By the time the season comes around your body will feel great, even before you start to run. Then during the season all you have to do is maintain that strength you already have, and when the next off season comes around you do it all over again. That is what I am doing; I am going back on the same regime in the summer and fall.
MoCoRunning: Everybody knows that Dematha has been the dominant team in the WCAC for a long time, but many are saying that this is Good Counsel's year to win the title. What do you think about that?
Brown: The championship has been Coach Buddy’s main goal ever sense he arrived and this year I actually think we have a legitimate shot. This is the best overall Good Counsel team I have ever seen and I think this year is our best chance to accomplish our goal and win the championship. But with that being said we cannot under-estimate any team, whether they are DeMatha, Gonzaga, or Carroll. They all have the exact same goal and want it just as bad as we do. We can’t take any team lightly and we have to keep working hard and stay focused on our goal.
MoCoRunning: If you have speed, it doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, but do you ever get heckled by other runners for being the white boy on the 4x1? How do you respond to that?
Brown: I don’t get so much heckled as I do underestimated. Every once in a while, I will encounter someone who will say something or give me a dirty look but I try not to let it bother me. I just let my running speak for itself.
MoCoRunning: Are you doing summer track this year?
Brown: Yes, I am running for the Rockville Striders. But it will also involve a lot of lifting to get ready for college.
MoCoRunning: When high school is over, and when summer track is over, what do you think you will miss the most about these days?
Brown: I will miss the closeness of both my teams (school and summer). Since most of my friends from school also run for the Striders, we are a very close team. We spend a lot of time together, and we get used to seeing each other every day. Once school and summer track is over I am going to miss just going to practice and having fun with my friends. It is going to be hard to build new bonds like those in college.