McKenna Brown (4) was fifth in the 1,600 at the CIF-State meet in June and is the No. 4 returner. (Eric Taylor)
La Costa Canyon (SD) senior McKenna Brown took on a college field in the mile run Saturday at the UW Invitational in Seattle and more than held her own.
Brown ran the indoor mile in 4:52.46 to place third in her heat and 18th overall in a field of 65, broken up by six heats. She was the only HS runner in the event and one of few prep athletes at the primarily college invitational.
A much larger field of prep standouts is expected in Seattle this weekend to run at the Dempsey Indoor facility on the UW campus.
Brown, is one of the top 1,600 runners from last year's CIF-State meet and is coming off a cross country season where she was the State runner-up in Division 3.
She ran 4:38.20 for 1,500 meters at the Jan. 20 all-comers meet at Irvine HS. She used that as a training opportunity to prepare for her race in Seattle.
In a Jan. 20 interview with MileSplitCA, Brown said she was hoping to run a sub-5 mile at UW.
"Anything under 5 I'd be happy with," she said. "My goal would be around 4:55ish range. That's my mile PR. Around there would be amazing for this early on."
Brown said she was injured as a junior and unable to compete during the winter season. She used the Irvine meet to help gauge her progress.
"I wanted to come out here and see where I was at," she said. "I've had some pretty good workouts and we started training as a team but I had no idea where I would be. So I just wanted to come to a low-key meet and see where I was at.
"Now that I'm healthy, I wanted to take advantage of (the opportunity to compete in meets like UW).
"I've never raced indoors. Since it's my senior year, I want to take advantage of everything. I think it will be a cool experience to run indoors."
Brown had said she was hoping her time in Seattle would be fast enough to get her to the New Balance Indoors in New York.
"If I do end up running at New Balance Indoors, I'll want to get closer to the 4:50 range," she had said. "It's a long way to go to New York, I want to be competitive if I'm going to go there. I'll just see how it goes."