Aaliyah Brown, Lincoln-Way East, sophomore, track and field
Brown was the big winner in the IHSA Class 3A state finals in Charleston. She won three state titles, taking home top honors on her own in the 100 dash (11.46) and 200 dash (24.00) as well as the 4 x 100 (47.00) with Dana O’Grady, Meghan Marias and Maria Perozzi.
Brown was the SWSC champion and the sectional champion in the 100 dash, 200 dash and 4 x 100, along with O’Grady, Marias and Perozzi.
She also teamed up with the same relay foursome to win the 4 x 400 in the sectional and that same relay team placed third in the IHSA state finals.
Brown was named MVP for Lincoln-Way East girls track and field.
She broke four indoor Lincoln-Way East records: 55 dash, 200 dash, 4 x 200 (with O’Grady, Marias and Perozzi) and the 4 x 400 (with Marias, Perozzi and Nicole Nepote). Brown also broke five outdoor school records: 100 dash, 200 dash, 400 dash, 4 x 100 and 4 x 400.
She achieved her fastest career time in the 100 dash with an 11.44, just missing the state record of 11.40.
She was awarded Athlete of the Meet in California during the Arcadia Invitational.
Aaliyah Brown: In Her Own Words
"This season was a special season because I was able to be the Illinois state champion in the 100-meter dash two years consecutively. Also, redeeming myself in the 200-meter dash by winning the state title as a sophomore, after false starting as a freshman."
Caroline Cunningham: Coach’s Tribute
“Aaliyah (Brown) is an amazing athlete as well as an amazing person. She is always challenging herself to perform at the next level. Her work ethic is impeccable and has been contagious with the rest of the Lincoln-Way East girls track team. Having Aaliyah be on the Lincoln-Way East track and field team is a great experience. I can count on her to be a team leader and motivator at anytime. Coaching an athlete like Aaliyah makes coaching so rewarding and fun. You always know when she is on the track that it will be an amazing race to watch.”
Brown would like to choose between attending UCLA or Texas A&M. The one person that influences her is her father Angelo Brown. He has helped her get to the level that she is at now with track and field and has been there since day one of her track career.
"He is not only a great coach, but he is a great father," Aaliyah said.
Angelo is an assistant coach at Lincoln-Way East. He recognized her talent when she was at a young age and playing soccer. Her mother, Rhea, passed away a few years ago after battling breast cancer. Brown looks to her for strength and told her that she would be in the Olympics some day. Many believe such a goal in attainable.
Near misses: In addition to Brown's incredible season this spring, there were a few other very deserving athletes from the area worthy of consideration, including Lincoln-Way co-op's Ajani Cargle who won the all-around title, horizontal bar and tied for first in the floor exercise to help Lincoln-Way win the IHSA boys state gymnastics title. Lincoln-Way North's A.J. Neufeld and Alex Eaton, two baseball standouts, hit the ball incredibly well all season for a Phoenix squad that went 30-4.