PANTHER OF THE WEEK: Hannah Brown – mind over matter
By Lance Catchings
When student-athletes become a member of a program at Liberty Hill High School most understand that it comes with the responsibility of meeting high expectations.
Seniors like four-year cross country letterman Hannah Brown especially know this because by this point in their athletic careers they are often the leaders of the team. Brown knew coming in that this season would be full of high expectations.
“We definitely have high expectations because we did not lose any seniors from last year on varsity, so we expected to come back a lot stronger,” Brown said.
“There is a lot of pressure on us this year because we have the expectations to make it to state every year. I feel like since we changed regions this year it will be harder on us. There is a lot more competition this year and it is coming from different teams. It will be harder, but I still think we can go out and win. As seniors we encouraged all the incoming underclassmen that we expected to be on varsity to take their summer training seriously. We wanted them to do the best they could to stay in shape and prepare themselves for this upcoming season.”
After training in the summer and going through early cross country workouts in August, Brown said she saw the makings of something special. She knew for the team to have a chance at their goal they would need freshman help. She remembers exactly how she felt four years ago in that same position.
“I was excited after the first few weeks of practice this year,” she said.
“This is the biggest team we have had since I have ran cross country. We have a lot of talent this year, so I was very impressed with everything I saw from my teammates early on. When I came in four years ago I was very intimidated by the whole varsity thing. Eliana Luna and I have been together since seventh grade running cross country. We were both on varsity as freshmen, so we stuck out that season together. For us this year has been bitter sweet because every meet we know is closer to the last one. You must go in and do the best you can every time because there is no more after this.”
Brown said the most important thing she has learned in her four years of running and hundreds of miles logged is that you must be mentally tough.
“My mental toughness now compared to when I came in as a freshman is so much stronger,” she said. “I follow different running accounts on social media. I see all these positive motivational quotes and one that Eliana and I have really taken personal is mind over matter. It is something we constantly say while we are running. We know it is supposed to hurt, you just must keep pushing. Our senior year that has really been our mentality. My freshman year if I was hurting I would want to slow down thinking it is not supposed to hurt this bad, but if you want to get better you will go through pain.”
Being this is her last go around she is making sure to let her teammates know that the fun doesn’t last forever. She feels it is important to pass on what she has learned to younger runners.
“I want to make sure that my teammates and the underclassmen don’t hold anything back,” she said. “I want them to do the best they can for each race because I don’t want them to feel like they could have given anything more. That is something I learned, and I always felt it was important. As a young runner I had to learn to not be afraid. Don’t be afraid to be with the seniors if you’re a freshman because you could be better than the seniors. You could have the potential to beat out a senior and you never really know until you push yourself and find that potential.”
As her time as a Panther runner comes to a close this year she is thankful for all of she has learned and her amazing experiences along the way.
“It is really an honor to run six years at the same school in the same program,” she said. “I would not have asked for anything else and I really think it has been great for me. Growing up with everyone on my team has been great. Seeing yourself and your teammates grow is such a special thing and I can’t wait until our junior high runners get to where I am and can get to experience that.
“Sports has taught me to never give up and keep pushing myself. It does not matter how hard something is because sticking with it is the only way to find out what you can do,” she said.
Brown and her teammates will be on the road Saturday to compete at the Lago Vista Cross Country meet.