Cheering for each other at LCC

Pole vaulter Kyle Brown recalls the time he gave the 1,600-meter run a try.

“I was in middle school,” said the La Costa Canyon High senior. “After three laps, I walked off the track. I knew that wasn’t for me — that I’d never do that again.”

One of the motivations for entering the race was that his younger sister, McKenna, fared considerably better at distance running. Since she was willing to try the pole vault, the least he could do was see what attracted her to running.

While McKenna, now a sophomore at LCC, continues to pole vault, Kyle admits he gets tired just watching and cheering for his sister.

He had plenty to shout about Saturday as McKenna collected her first sub-5 minute 1,600, winning the ASICS/Mt. Carmel Invitational race in 4:55.66, which ranks No. 2 in the state this spring by fractions of a second.

Kyle finds himself in a similar position in the pole vault after clearing 16 feet, 4 inches — 4 inches behind Loomis Del Oro’s Jacob Bowler.

“I really can’t help him, but he helps me,” McKenna said of her older brother. “I can hear him cheering for me, saying ‘stay strong’ and it helps.

“I still do the pole vault in dual meets to score points, but I probably won’t do it in the CIF meet this year. Last year I got injured two weeks before CIF, and I don’t want that to happen again.”

Kyle said McKenna is really quite good, having cleared 11 feet last year.

“It’s amazing what she can do (in the vault),” he said, “considering she never practices and just shows up in a dual meet. She doesn’t like vaulting as much as running — I don’t get it.”

The Browns get their penchant to go for a ride on a fiberglass pole from their father, Charlie Brown, who was a 17-6 vaulter at UCLA.

Kyle, whose best a year ago was 15 feet, has targeted the San Diego Section record (16-8 by El Camino’s Derek Scott in 2005) and beyond.

“What I really want is 17 feet,” said Brown, “but 16-9 is a good goal for now. I’m ready, I just need to get on my bigger pole in a big meet.”

That’s pole vault speak for a longer, heavier pole that he’s working with in practice and plans to bring to the Arcadia Invitational a week from Saturday.

“I competed in the daytime section last year,” Brown said of Arcadia, “and I really liked the facility. In the evening the wind is at your back and that’ll be a lot better.”

Kyle, with a 4.14 GPA, is considering attending UCLA, Stanford or Arizona State.

Meanwhile, McKenna showed a lot of riverboat gambler at Mt. Carmel. After staying with the pack the first half of the race, she took off on the third lap when normally runners just try to relax so they can pick it up on the final 400.

“The third lap is usually the hardest, so I decided to push it,” said McKenna. “I was on sub-5 minute pace and I didn’t want to fall off.”

Not only did she scorch the field, opening a 50-meter lead, she just kept charging, pulling away even more on the final lap to win by almost 10 seconds.

“I just wanted anything 4:59 or better, so I’m really happy,” McKenna said.

She then excused herself to go cheer for Kyle, who won the vault at a disappointing-for-him 15-8. But that was still better than running around the track.




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