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DeKalb' Jasmine Brown enjoys hot start at WIU

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 9:09 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11:54 p.m. CDT
(Brian Drumm)
Photo Credit: Brian Drumm - Western Illinois Athletics DeKalb High School graduate and current Western Illinois freshman Jasmine Brown lands in the sand pit after a jump at the Summit League Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 28. Brown finished in the top 10 of the triple jump and long jump and is hoping to build on those performances in the outdoor season.

The entire routine would take Jasmine Brown about 15 minutes to complete, 20 minutes tops if she found herself talking with teammates more than ordinary.

Brown was in the DeKalb High School weight room on a daily basis as a senior last year, going through her series of exercises. But it was nothing compared to what she’s experiencing in her freshman season at Western Illinois.

“I’m in the weight room a lot more now than I was in high school,” Brown said. “I can feel myself getting stronger with that.”

The larger emphasis on weight training is only part of her transition to college athletics that has seen her go through some initial struggles, but recently she has flourished. Although Brown, who won the IHSA Class 3A triple jump state title last year while also placing third in the long jump, was able to largely rely on her exceptional athleticism at the prep level, her coaches at WIU have instituted an additional focus on technique in both events.

“Her landings and her knee drive,” WIU jumps coach Samantha Linck said. “We’ve had to take her jump pretty much fully apart and put it together to fix a few minor details.”

Much of that process happened throughout her first indoor season in Macomb, and Brown showed signs of getting back to form at the Summit League Indoor Championships, taking seventh in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump.

She broke through in the Leathernecks’ first outdoor invitational, winning the long jump and triple jump in an eight-team field that included Northern Illinois. Brown’s mark of 39 feet, 2.25 inches in the triple jump was the second-best in WIU history, and her winning long jump of 19-8 is third all-time, just 1.25 inches behind the school record and the best mark for WIU in more than a decade. Her record-setting long jump also was a personal-best mark by almost a foot.

“During indoor I felt with the adjustments it was a little shaky,” Brown said. “In the first outdoor meet it all came together like it was supposed to.”

Brown said she’d like to break 20 feet in the long jump and 41 feet in the triple jump by season’s end. Yet she made sure to note that those are merely goals, not ceilings for what she can accomplish.

Overall, she’s hopeful that more consistency and even higher marks will come in the outdoor season after starting out with longer jumps than she did at this point in the season last year for DeKalb.

“Honestly, right now with these kinds of marks as a freshman and this season, I couldn’t put a limit on her performances,” Linck said. “She has a good shot this year of getting into (NCAA) outdoor regionals, and, hopefully, she could qualify for outdoor nationals.”

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