By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Brown heads to NCAA Championship
GSU TRACK 5 col bw
Nicole Brown, left, practices Monday at the Georgia Southern track and field complex for Wednesday’s NCAA National Championship’s in Sacramento, Calif. Head coach Natalie Smith, right, looks on. Brown qualified for the long jump and triple jump events. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    For Nicole Brown, the easy part is over.
    “There’s nothing more to be nervous about now,” said the senior jumper for Georgia Southern’s track and field team. “I mean — you’re there.”
    Pretty humble stuff from an athlete who will become the first female to represent GSU at the NCAA Division I Championships in Sacramento, Calif., starting Wednesday.
    Brown won the triple jump title in Gainesville, Fla., on May 26 at the NCAA East Regional with a jump of 43-6, a school record. A few days later, Brown learned her long jump distance of 20-5 was good enough to qualify her in that event, too.
    “I fully expected (that performance),” said first-year head coach Natalie Smith. “I think that was the biggest transition for her, in dealing with me as a new coach, is that I came in and saw her potential. There was nothing that I did, I think it was more so just telling her that this is something you can do.”
    Brown was part of a GSU team that won its first Southern Conference Outdoor Track and Field title this past season. She’s more than excited about her opportunity to compete this week with the nation’s best.
    “It’s my senior year, I’m glad God has blessed me to be able to go and represent Georgia Southern,” she said. “There’s going to be future Olympians there, we’re going to see some of the best people that will ever run for America. I’m ready.”
    The preliminaries for the long jump will begin on Wednesday with the finals to be held Thursday. The triple jump competition will be held Friday and Saturday, with live coverage beginning at 1 p.m. on CBS on Saturday.
    “Nicole Brown is an exceptional person and an exceptional athlete,” Smith added. “Her GPA this year was a 3.29, she’s in three Honor societies, she’s a President of an honor society, has scored the most points ever by a (GSU) track athlete — I just can’t say enough about her.”
    Also a competitor in the 400-meter relay, the 1600-meter relay, the 100m, 200m and javelin, Brown has been participating in track and field since her days at Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Ga. She graduated in the spring from GSU with a degree in Information Systems.
    “My goal for Nicole is to become an All-American,” said Smith. “If she finishes in the top eight in either event, she’ll be an All-American. I think that will give her confidence to continue to do this if she wants to. She’s been a coache’s dream.”

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.