Aaliyah Brown, who led Lincoln-Way East to fourth place at the Class 3A state championship last spring by winning the 200 meters, was named the 2012 Gatorade Illinois Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year. | Supplied Photo
Updated: January 3, 2013 6:13AM
A student-athlete from Lincoln-Way East High School has been honored for her impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
Aaliyah Brown, who led the Griffins to a fourth-place finish at the Class 3A state championship last spring by winning the 200-meter dash in a time of 24.18, was named the 2012 Gatorade Illinois Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year. She recently was recognized during a formal program at the school.
“Aaliyah is not afraid to set her goals high, because she knows she has what it takes to achieve them,” said Lincoln-Way East coach Caroline Gerritsen, who nominated Aaliyah for the award. “She is very mature for her age and motivates her teammates more than I have ever seen anyone do.”
Added Lincoln-Way East Principal Scott Tingley: “We are fortunate to have such athletes with us.” “Aaliyah works very hard to excel at an incredible level. She’s quite an athlete.”
This is the 27th year that Gatorade and ESPNHS have honored a high school athlete from each state and the District of Columbia that sanctions high school girls and boys track and field, football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball and softball.
Last winter, Gatorade honored another Lincoln-Way East student-athlete, Blake Winkler, when it named him the 2011-12 Gatorade Illinois Football Player of the Year. The former East quarterback is a freshman at Illinois State University.
Brown, a senior, has broken or helped break school indoor records for the 55, 60 and 200 meters, and 800 and 1,600 relays, and outdoors for the 100, 200 and 400 meters, and 400, 800 and 1,600 relays.
Besides winning the 200 meters last spring, Brown was second in the 100 meters, and anchored the 400 and 1,600 relays to runner-up finishes. She also broke the tape in the 100 and 200 at the Arcadia Invitational in California and finished second in the Adidas Dream 100 with a time of 11.44 seconds, which ranked as the nation’s No. 4 time among prep competitors in 2012 at the time of her selection.
Brown did all that while maintaining a 3.32 grade-point average.
“It’s hard work to balance school, athletics and family,” Gerritsen said, “but (Aaliyah) has figured it out.”
Provided to SouthtownStar