Sometime in November, Bethanie Brown and Waterville coach Ian Wilson sat down and discussed a training plan for the year.
The plan included not just the indoor track and field season but the outdoor one as well.
Goals were set.
No. 1 on the list?
“The outdoor nationals,” Wilson said. “We made a decision to focus exclusively on outdoor nationals.”
Seven months after the meeting, Brown turned in spectacular performances at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor track and field championships in Greensboro, N.C.
She finished third in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 16 minutes, 41.84 seconds. The finish earned her All-American status.
Prior to nationals, Brown — the most dominant girls distance runner in Maine — helped Waterville win its seventh consecutive Class B state championship.
For her accomplishments this spring, Brown is the Morning Sentinel Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Lawrence graduate Erzsie Nagy was also considered.
“Going into outdoor, I started building toward nationals,” Brown said. “It was interesting because I wanted to do well at states, obviously, and I wanted the team to win.”
The Purple Panthers won states, in dominating fashion.
Brown set a Class B state record in the 800 with a time of 2:16.50. She also won the 1,600 (4:56.34), 3,200 (10:36.36) and anchored the victorious 4×400 relay team that finished in 4:10.19.
“That whole day was awesome,” Brown said. “My goal was to score as many points as possible. I wanted to give everything I had.”
Brown skipped the New England championship meet in New Britain, Conn., to rest up for nationals, at the University of North Carolina A&T.
On June 14, she earned All-American status in the 5,000.
“It was amazing going into that race,” Brown said. “It was a really talented field. I had no idea how it would turn out. I went into it without any planning. I normally don’t run the (5,000). It’s 12.5 laps so I figured I would just go for it.”
Wesley Frazier, of Raleigh, N.C., won the race in 15:55.94. Erin Finn, of West Bloomfield, Mich., was second in 16:17.89.
“I ran basically the last mile by myself,” Brown added. “The two leaders were so far ahead that I couldn’t even see them. I had no idea who was behind me.”
Added Wilson: “I saw the training she put in and I knew she’d have an awesome day down there. It starts to get hard to talk about superlatives about her. I’ve run out of ways to express what hasn’t already been before. She is just amazing.”
Brown followed up her performance in the 5,000 with an eighth-place finish in the 2-mile run. She finished in 10:24.44.
Brown will attend the University of Connecticut in the fall. She will compete for the track and field teams and has already begun the offseason training program.
“I’m training pretty hard,” she said. “They have me on a program and I can’t wait to get down there. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640