Shelby Brown has been part of the Xavier varsity team since her freshman year and has finished first for the team in several meets. Brown had a break-out moment at the Arizona Track and Field State Meet last May finishing 3rd with a huge PR of 4:54.71. Brown just made a verbal commitment to the University of Mississippi and talks about her process.
The college visit and why you picked them:
In October I took my first and only official visit to the University of Mississippi. I immediately fell in love with the campus and team there. The team was so beyond welcoming and I felt as if I was a part of it. Having a close team is something that is important for me since I am so close to my team right now. There are a lot of benefits that come along with a close team - I loved the dynamics of the team. Not only was the team welcoming but all of the coaches were as well. While on my visit I learned that Ole Miss prides themselves on having a very close track team. The school also has a top International Business Program, which is what I plan on majoring in.
Coach O’Neal, the head track coach, has so many dreams and goals for the team and is willing to make them come true no matter what it takes. In doing so he has hired two separate distance coaches, one men’s and one women’s. This allows Coach Dawson, the women’s distance coach, to focus one on one with each of her athletes. Not only do I value a close team but I also value a close athlete/coach relationship. Coach Dawson and I get along so well! I look forward to the weekly phone calls we have that can sometimes last over an hour. My last cross country season did not go as I had planned and having Coach Dawson there to talk to was truly a blessing. She believed in me even when I stopped believing in myself. She helped me realize that my worth as an athlete does not solely rely on one season and that I still have so much to offer this sport. Having such a positive Coach has already helped me so much and I cannot wait until next year.
What was the most difficult part of the process:
The hardest part of the entire process was trying to get my parents to understand that Ole Miss was where I wanted to be. I knew the second that I walked onto the Ole Miss campus that I belonged there. I had the feeling so many college athletes talk about. You just know. My parents wanted me to keep my options open, which was hard because my heart was at Ole Miss but once they finally gave me the okay to commit everything fell into place. I am so thankful that my parents have sacrificed so much so that I can be the best athlete possible. They are willing to do whatever it takes-new trainers every three months, physical therapy/messages the second I need them, and all the time and effort they put into it. My mother is very good at making sure I eat and receive all of the nutrients I need. I am so fortunate and blessed to have such an amazing support system. Not many people have parents that are willing to drop everything to make sure I am healthy and ready to go.
What are you looking forward to the most:
I am excited to be in a building program and to work with coaches I get along with so well. I cannot wait to help both Coach O’Neal and Coach Dawson achieve the goals they have for the program. I am so blessed to have found such a positive, supporting, loving family at Ole Miss. Starting this college process was scary because I was not sure I would be able to find the right fit, but I know that Ole Miss is exactly where I belong.
Now that cross country is over and I know where I am going to go next year, I am that much more motivated to get things done this track season. I cannot wait to race hard and to race with everything I have and to end my high school career on a high. A lot of stress has been taken off and I am able to enjoy every moment of senior year.
I am excited for next year. I am excited to be living the dream I have had ever since I was little-to do D1 college athletics. I am also excited to make a path for myself as I become independent. To all the athletes out there - never give up when it gets hard because something great will come out of it. God has blessed me in so many ways and I cannot wait to see how he will bless me next.