Editor's note: This is an installment in a series highlighting the accomplishments of those Moffat County High School athletes named All-Conference and All-Conference honorable mention during the 2000-2001 athletic seasons.
It was in a gym class during Daniel Brown's middle school years that she discovered her aptitude for running. Like most gym classes, Brown's required her to run a timed mile. When she did, she blew nearly everyone out of the water with her time. Brown also found out something important about herself and running it was something she enjoyed and was extremely competitive in it.
"After running in the class, I found it was something I was really good at, and I enjoyed it, so I decided to go out for cross country," Brown said. "Plus, I'm not really a big volleyball fan, so cross country gave me something to do in the fall."
Participating cross country and the distance events in track, Brown has become somewhat of a force in high school running. Last fall, as a sophomore, Brown took second at regionals, and placed sixth overall at state. The sixth-place finish turned out to be a redemption run for her freshman performance, where she fell and finished in the eighties.
The poor showing as freshman at state was a blessing in disguise for Brown. She was able to learn about herself, and what she needed to do to be happy and successful.
"I know what I need to do to make myself happy, and that's win. The loss turned out to have really helped me, it has helped me not to let up when I'm tired and the pain sets in. It's really let me know I'm competitive," she said.
This year's high finish on the state field was fueled by many of Brown's teammates, who in the goal setting rally before the race, felt there was no reason she shouldn't beat the number-one runne from Mullen, the team that was the biggest threat to Moffat County's state title campaign.
"It was intimidating going into a race that big, just the sheer number of spectators was nerve racking," Brown said. "It was made easier with the support that my teammates had for me before the race."
Achieving All-Conference and All-State honors at such a early time in Brown's high school career has not jaded her work ethic, it has only strength it. She felt the honors would work as motivation in her final two years of competition, and push her to not only to place high in state, but to win it in the next two years.
"It's nice to know that I've made it this far, but at the same time I know it will only make me more of a target for the younger runners," Brown said.
Brown will compete this spring in the distance events in track, but cross country will remain her passion, because of the longer distances cross country offers, and because of its challenges.
Though Brown has two more years to decide what she wants to do and where she wants to go, she has set her sights on earning an athletic scholarship, undaunted by the competition in the college ranks.
"She led the team for us, she was the number one runner all year and really pushed some of her teammates to a higher level of performance," cross country coach Mike Gleason said. "I can see her doing that for the next two years and beyond."