May 12, 2011

Brown was Born to Run

By Chelsea Flintoft '14

Running since she was in the sixth grade, Kazimir Brown (KB), also known as Amanda, grew up in a track family and was destined to be a runner. During her sophomore season here at Santa Clara, she broke two school records in the 100m and the 200m. Brown is now ready to bounce back from her injuries last year and perform to her highest ability for her last season as a Bronco. The graduating senior and Brisbane, Calif. native recently sat down with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) and looked back on her impressive four years at Santa Clara University.

SCB: Why do you run track? When did you first start? What do you enjoy about it?

KB: Track has always been a sport that I have been interested in. Since my mom and aunts participated in various events when they were younger and my grandma and grandpa were both track coaches, it was a sport that ran in the family—no pun intended.  In sixth grade I was able to run in my first race on my school's track team, and from that day forward I have continued running. What I love about track is that on one single team you have people of all body types, shapes, sizes and skills. Each event is just as technical and competitive as the next. My favorite aspect of track is a bit difficult for me to fully explain. It is a sport in which every moment matters and outcomes are decided based upon the accuracy of executing the slightest of movements.  For me, running is the ultimate release of energy and strength, as for those few seconds, I am completely focused on nothing but finishing the race.
SCB: You broke Santa Clara's school record in the 100m and 200m during your sophomore year. Tell us some of your goals for your final season.
KB: I would say my No. 1 goal is to complete the season without further setbacks.  It was quite frustrating not being able to compete last year due to a hamstring injury, especially looking back at my previous year.  Overall, I plan to continue getting stronger and working on my technique, and hopefully by the end of the season I can leave with a new P.R. (personal record).
SCB: What events are your favorites to run in and to watch?
KB: The 100m is by far my favorite event to run. My favorite event to watch is a harder question because there are so many events to choose from.  As far as running events go, I enjoy the 4x100m relays and the 100m/110m hurdles.  When it comes to field events, I would say that I enjoy watching all of them equally.
SCB: Do you have any memorable moments over the last four years from track?
KB: I would say my sophomore year in general has been the most memorable experience.  Not only did Coach Marshall completely change my running mechanics, but he also gave me the tools to completely transform my body into that of a healthy and efficient runner. At first it was a bit difficult transitioning into a whole new way of training, but by the end of the season it became second nature.  During that same year I also ran in the Brutus Hamilton meet at Berkeley and ended up with not only a P.B (personal best) but also a conference record.
SCB: If you weren't running track, what sport would you like to compete in?
KB: Out of all the sports I've played, I think soccer would be the next best sport to compete in. Not only would I be able to incorporate my love for running, but I also get to add the whole slide-tackling, goals-scoring aspect as well.  J
SCB: Do you have any pre-meet rituals before you begin the race?
KB: Actually, my pre-meet traditions start the minute I get dressed for a meet—even my socks are chosen based upon what I feel that day. Some of my must-have items are my stud earrings, rings and my favorite necklace with a picture of my Great-Grandmother and me.  Going to the meet, I have my iPod constantly playing, so I can get pumped up and in the zone. After that I usually warm-up about an hour before my race, which includes a series of good sweat-producing movements that allow me to focus on my running mechanics, and wake up my body to prepare it for the upcoming race. Then, I usually take some long and short sprints, and end with some visualizations of me executing a seamless race strategy. 
SCB: You carry a 3.78 GPA. As a double major in Political Science and Sociology, how do you balance academics and athletics all at once?
KB: Sports have always given me organization throughout my day. In fact, when I don't have practice I usually loose track of what I'm doing that day. Although I absolutely love running track and dedicate a good amount of time to it, I also make sure that it doesn't interfere with my studies. Overall, I find it very do-able to balance the two, especially with the support Santa Clara gives to its students both on and off the track/field/court/pool. J
SCB: Any post-grad plans?
KB: I actually will be transitioning from a Bronco to a Golden Bear. I plan on pursuing a Master's degree in Public Policy at UC Berkeley this coming fall where I plan on focusing on various social policies. Upon graduation, I plan to pursue a career avenue that will allow me to reform our nation's education, immigration, housing and health policies, in hopes of creating a better quality of living for all.
GO BRONCOS!