Kelsey Brown competes at Nationals for 800-meter title

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – Junior 800-meter runner Kelsey Brown heads to Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend as the sole member of the BYU women’s track team to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

“Kelsey is going into this weekend with the idea that she is going to win,” head coach Patrick Shane said. “She’s healthy, she’s ready to go, and she believes she has a legitimate shot at making the finals. At that point, it’s anyone’s race.”

Due to a hamstring injury following the Washington Invitational, Brown has only competed in two 800 races so far this season. During the Washington Invitational, she finished first with a personal-best time of 2 minutes 4.94 seconds, which ranks her seventh in the NCAA. She also qualified for nationals with the same time and currently ranks fourth on the BYU all-time indoor record board.

Before setting her personal-best time in Washington, Brown’s fastest indoor 800 was2:10.13, which she ran at the Husky Classic in 2011 as a freshman.

During the 2013 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, Brown finished fourth with a time of 2:07.11.

Even though this is Brown's first trip to Nationals, she attributes much of her success to her coaches.

"I honestly don't know what my coaches haven't done to help me get to this point," Brown said. "The coaches were the main reason for transferring here to BYU. I needed coaches who were confident in what they told me and what they had me do. I wouldn't be here without them."

Last year during the indoor championships, Nachelle Mackie and Katie Palmer led the way in the 800. Mackie finished first, claiming the championship title, with a time of 2:03.30, and Palmer finished third with a time of 2:04.56. Mackie’s time currently ranks atop the BYU all-time indoor record board in the 800.

The 800 semifinals will begin on Friday at 7:15 p.m. CST at Randal Tyson Track Center. If Brown advances to the next round, the final will take place on Saturday at 7:20 p.m. CST.

Results from the first day of competition can be found at FlashResults.com.

For an UP CLOSE with Brown, read the latest blog entry.