A student athlete from Lincoln-Way East High School has been singled out for her impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
Aaliyah Brown, who led the Griffins to a fourth-place finish at the Class 3A state championship this past spring by winning the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.18, was named the 2012 Gatorade Illinois Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
She was recognized at a formal presentation at the school Thursday, Sept. 13.
“Aaliyah is not afraid to set her goals high, because she knows that she has what it takes to achieve them,” said Lincoln-Way East coach Caroline Gerritsen, who nominated Aaliyah for the award.
“She is very mature for her age and motivates her teammates more than I have ever seen anyone do,” she added.
“We are fortunate to have such athletes with us,” agreed Dr. Scott Tingley, principal at Lincoln-Way East. “Aaliyah works very hard to excel at an incredible level. She’s quite an athlete.”
This is the 27th year the Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, has honored a high school athlete from each state. The program recognizes one winner from each state as well as the District of Columbia that sanction high school girls and boys track and field, football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball and softball.
Last winter, Gatorade honored another Lincoln-Way East student athlete, Blake Winkler, when it named him the 2011-12 Gatorade Illinois Football Player of the Year.
The former East quarterback is now a freshman at Illinois State University.
Aaliyah, who just entered her senior year at Lincoln-Way East, has already broken a number of school records – including indoor records for the 55-meter dash, 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 4x200 relay and 4x400 relay as well as outdoor records for the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay and 4x400 relay.
In addition to winning the 200-meter dash this past spring, Aaliyah took second in the 100-meter dash and anchored the 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay to runner-up finishes. She also broke the tape in the 100 and 200 at the Arcadia Invitational in California and finished second in the Adidas Dream 100 with a time of 11.44 seconds, which ranked as the nation’s No. 4 time among prep competitors in 2012 at the time of her selection.
She did all that while maintaining a 3.32 GPA in the classroom.
“It’s hard work to balance school, athletics and family,” said Gerritsen. “But (Aaliyah) has figured it out.”