With the indoor track and field season basically on hold without many competitions, we wanted to highlight some of the top athletes in the state. For the next month or so we will have interviews with athletes across the state. Today's feature is with York junior standout Alexandra Brent
When did you first start running, and do you recall any of your childhood races?
I started running in 7th grade. I only ran the 100 and the 80-meter hurdles. By the end of 7th grade, I had the hurdle record. If anyone had ever told me that I'd be running over 100 meters within the next couple of years, I probably would have stopped running. However, once I hit eighth grade I started to run the 400. I remember my shoe coming off in one of my first races, but I stuck with it and went into high school as a hurdle/400-meter runner.
Was there a certain moment when you realized you'd be able to compete at such a high level?
My high school coach had put me in the 800 one time freshman year during the indoor season and I hated it. When it came to outdoor, I was hesitant about running the event but our team already had strong 400 runners and my coach wanted me to run the 800. In my first outdoor race, I ran a 2:35 and by my second I dropped to a 2:27. I knew I could run a decent time but I didn't realize I would be able to compete at a high level until a windy meet, only running against one other team. A girl from Wells dragged me along in the race and I ran a 2:22. I was so shocked and from that moment forward I grew to realize I was probably going to be more of a mid-distance runner.
What are some bumps in the road that you've encountered when it comes to training for different events during the season?
Running two very different events has gotten harder over time. I have always tried to divide my time up evenly but during indoor track, I focus very heavily on the 55 hurdles. During outdoor, I focus heavily on the 800. Right now I am training with my school team and a separate program. In both places, they would like me to focus on the 800 which has become harder for me because the hurdles is an event I have always loved. I am not positive where I will end up when it comes to the divide between the hurdles and the 800, but I am always looking to compete in both events to the best of my ability.
How has COVID impacted your training this winter as you prepared for the season?
Transitioning back to the school season has been hard with only running 2 days a week. I have flaws when it comes to training alone but my school coaches have put a lot of effort into making sure the track team is prepared with workouts and track time.
You've been competing for the New England Elite Club this winter, talk about what that opportunity has meant to you.
I have been competing for the team since Covid hit. It has definitely been one of the best opportunities I have ever been given when it comes to track and field. I have always struggled with keeping a positive mindset. The coaches there have changed my mindset positively which has helped me compete with a lot more confidence. I never thought I would be able to run in any type of cross country race, but being on the team pushed me to run 5ks in the fall to stay in shape. Over the summer I trained 5 days a week and ran a 2:16 in the 800 and was able to try out multiple new events. I went down to Florida for the junior Olympics and did not run very well in the extreme heat. My goal for this winter is to get back to these summer times for the 800. New England Elite has given me the opportunities to compete this winter at Virginia Beach and I will be competing there at the end of the month and in March. They have changed my career and thoughts about track tremendously for the better and I wouldn't be where I am without the team and coaches.
You won state championships last winter in the 55m hurdles and 800m. What event do you prefer the hurdles or the 800 and why?
I have always preferred the hurdles over the 800 until this season. Having to practice outside for both teams has made it even harder to hurdle, especially with the snow. During the spring season, I hope to hurdle more because I have put so much time and effort into the event.
Is there another track event you wish you were good at? What is appealing about it?
I would like to try the mile. Over the summer I was able to run the 1500. While I didn't compete to the best of my ability at the Junior Olympics, I do enjoy the event and was able to run a 4:58 during the time trials. I know that the 1500 isn't offered for school but the mile is close to this. I have never competed in the mile or 1600 at a race and I think it would be very cool to say that I can run the mile and 55m hurdles in the same meet.
What are some hobbies and interests you have outside of running?
I love to play field hockey during the fall. Coming into freshman year it was definitely my favorite sport. Now I have grown to favor track but it's still something I'm very passionate about. When I'm not at the track or the field, I'm normally with my friends.
Who is your role model, and why?
My role model is Tom Brady. He inspires me because he was doubted his whole life, and always found a way to be the best. Throughout elementary school and the beginning of middle school, I found myself being bad at every single sport I tried. My younger siblings were better than me and I felt like I always tried but was never good enough. I've always been labeled as short, skinny, and not very strong. It never stopped Tom Brady, which inspired me to never stop trying. Once I found track, I knew that I had to keep the same mentality as Tom Brady. Even if I have downfalls I can't give up.
Everyone has a bucket list, so give us some of the things on your list!
I hope to break the Class B State records in the 55 hurdles and the 800m by the end of my high school career.
What is the best advice you have received?
"You don't have to run, you get to run" This quote is from my club coach. He never fails to remind us that every time you are on that track is an opportunity, not something you are being forced to do. This always reminds me that I should take every opportunity I get and always try my hardest.
What is your favorite pre-race snack, tradition, etc.?
I am a very picky eater, but I normally just have a granola bar before a race and pasta the night before. For school races, I always wear a silver scrunchie but I am very superstitious.
If you could do a sport other than XC/Track, what sport would it be, and why?
I already play field hockey, but I do miss playing basketball and softball during the winter and spring. I played basketball from age 5 to 15 but I knew I would be better off running winter track.
Brent's High School Personal Bests
|100 Meter Hurdles||16.18|
|400 Meter Dash||1:02.56|
|800 Meter Run||2:20.36|
|1500 Meter Run||5:45.87|
|55 Meter Hurdles||8.66|
|60 Meter Hurdles||9.81|
|300 Meter Dash||46.06|
|400 Meter Dash||1:02.78|
|800 Meter Run||2:22.18|
|1000 Meter Run||3:05.93|