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Taking off: Jets track star makes history

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She’s sprinting towards history.

Brooklyn Law and Tech senior Naomi Brown committed to Morgan State University last week, cementing her name in the Jets’ athletic history books as she became the first female from the Bedford-Stuyvesant school to become a Division I collegiate athlete.

But even now, the track and field standout is still somewhat stunned by her achievement.

“That’s a huge accomplishment for me,” Brown said. “I was speechless and I was happy because I’m leaving a legacy. That’s what my parents always told me to do — be different, be special, be unique. So having that opportunity, it really is a great, great blessing.”

Brown’s historic choice wasn’t entirely a simple one. She wavered between Morgan State and Virginia Union for several weeks — taking official visits to both schools — before deciding to sign with the Bears two weeks ago.

“I was sitting by myself in the kitchen and I was looking at Virginia Union and Morgan State, just trying to decide which one would appeal to me the most,” Brown said. “When it came down to the pros and cons of each school, Morgan State was there. So it wasn’t actually a hard decision to make.”

As soon as she stepped onto the Morgan State campus in Baltimore, she felt immediately at home, finding familiarity with the school and, most importantly, with the track and field team.

“Every time you walked across the campus, there would just be people there waving at you. They don’t even know you and they’re waving at you,” Brown said. “The coaching staff was great, they’re a sweet group of people. It was a really, really good feel that I got from the school and the whole program.”

Brown always knew she wanted to run in college, and she relishes the opportunity to compete at the Division I level. She does a bit of everything at Law and Tech — running in nearly every sprint event and on several relay teams as well — and she intends to do the same at Morgan State.

“I set a goal to get a scholarship to college when I was in sixth grade,” Brown said. “I wanted me to make my parents proud and track is something that kept me from being a bad child or falling off the path.”

Track and field has defined Brown’s life, and kept her in her lane from the very first time she laced up her sneakers. There were moments, she concedes, when she considered walking — or even running — away, she knows now it’s all been worth it.

“It helped me grow up,” she says of track. “It forced me to set goals for myself at a young age and continue on with those goals, no matter what else I was going through. There was negativity and people telling me I wasn’t going to make it. I used that as a building point for myself to get what I wanted.”

Now, Brown is grateful she persevered, and ready to chase her new opportunity.

“I’m so excited,” she says. “It gives me a chance to experience a new state outside of New York and new challenges. I can’t wait.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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