By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
BAHAMAS women’s discus national record holder Serena Brown is working on some lofty goals in her senior year as a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes women’s track and field team.
After transferring from Texas A&M in January, 2020, the 22-year-old Brown spent the past year under the tutelage of coach Eric Werskey. But with no events to compete in due to the coronavirus pandemic, Brown is more eager to compete this year.
“I want to medal in the B10 and make the top five for the (NCAA) Nationals (Championships),” said Brown, whose Bahamian national goal is to qualify for the postponed 2020 Olympic Games.
Brown, who took advantage of the inactivity on the sporting scene last year to focus on her academics, making the Dean’s List, posted the national record of 60.39 metres or 198-feet, 1-inch at the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, on March 31, 2018. That year, her junior at Texas A&M, she also placed eighth at the NCAA West Preliminary (176-9) and 13th at NCAA Championships (165-7).
The performances came after she made her debut as a freshman at Texas A&M with an 11th in the shot put at the SEC Indoor Championships (47-1 3/4).
Outdoors, she posted 180-3 (54.95m) in discus at the NCAA West Preliminary and was third at the SEC Championships (170-8, 52.01m).
The St Augustine’s College graduate, who placed fourth in the discus at IAAF World Juniors in Poland with a national record and national junior record of 173-0 (52.73), was hoping to improve on her collegiate performances at Iowa, but last year she had to deal with COVID-19.
“It’s been interesting, but the university has been handling it pretty well,” Brown said. “I am sad about not having any spectators though.”
Despite the restrictions as far as the competition is concerned, Brown said she’s been making the most of the opportunity to train. “It has been going well. I’ve been making strides with my technique,” she said. “My main goal is getting my left down sooner in the front.”
Those are some of the things Werskey has been working on with Brown, especially as they prepare during the offseason in the gym. “I think she’s had a year to understand how our programme works at Iowa,” he said. “We have had to make some adjustments to suit her needs, but she’s been diligent on her recovery methods and understanding the training demands as well.”
After training Brown for the past year, Werskey said he’s seen vast improvement, but he’s just as eager to see how well it materialises on the field in competition.
“From January until March 2020, she had made great progress. She was in really great shape to throw really far just before the whole world shut down due to COVID-19,” he said.
“Her training marks resembled those of some high quality performances in the 58 to 59 metre range up until March when everything shut down with heavy weights. That was a good indicator for us that in peak form, she would have thrown around 62-63 metres.”
Having left Texas A&M with a shoulder injury, Werskey said Brown has shown that she has fully recovered. He mentioned the fact that she bench pressed up to 230 pounds with one repetition.
“It’s just a matter of her getting a little more fitness and getting her strength ready for the 2021 outdoor season,” he said. “I know she has her own list of goals, but she’s incredibly talented with a great work ethic, so we want to make sure she attains her goals.”
Werskey said Brown is in a good training environment with the group of female competitors, but they won’t know how well that works out until they start competing at the end of March, depending on how COVID-19 pans out in the United States.
In the meantime, Werskey said he’s appreciative of the working relationship he’s had with Corrington Maycock, the founder and head coach of the Blue Chips Throwers Club, who worked out with Brown during her visit home.
“Corrington does a fantastic job at the youth level and whenever Serena is home, he and I communicated very well with her training,” he said. “We still maintain contact because he’s a great resource.”
Hopefully, Werskey said because of the relationship with Maycock and the performance by Brown, Iowa will be coming to the Bahamas to recruit a few more throwers in the near future.