Brown Grew into His Holliston Cross Country Passion

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Sasha Brown stuck with cross-country, and now, the young captain sees running as a lifelong pursuit.
Issue Date: 
November, 2019
Article Body: 

Growing up with not one, but two older brothers who were both excellent track, it was only inevitable that younger Sasha Brown would also venture into running for Holliston High School. Rick, who is four years older than Sasha, holds a couple of high school records, while Chris (three years older) not only ran track but cross country as well for the Panthers.
According to the younger Brown, all three brothers have different aspects in their running, but in the long run things all equal out.
“Rick has achieved more in sprinting, but I’m more of a distance runner,” he said “Chris, on the other hand, may not be the most talented runner, but he is a very hard worker, and his work ethic makes him better.”
His two older brothers being both good at the sport didn’t mean that young Sasha would follow in their steps, and he found that out right from the beginning.
“It was really hard at the start. In fact, it was horrible getting used to it,” he said. “When I saw the notice about registration I signed up for the cross-country team, and that was it until the very first practice. I waited as long as possible before I started running. Cross country is a very scary sport.”
While Brown couldn’t stand the sport at the beginning, he now finds that he loves it. He loves it so much that he uses running as a de-stressor in his life and considers it a hobby more than a sport.
Getting involved with running for the first time in the seventh grade, he has had a love/hate relationship with the sport.
“In seventh grade it was horrible, but by the eighth grade, I started to like it,” Brown said. “Entering high school, I found that I hated it again, as we had to run longer distances, and it was much more painful, but then again, I came to like the sport last year as a sophomore and still like it now as a junior.”
Brown’s ability to continue running cross country and track all fell on the shoulders of Carter Mikkelsen, who was a year older and was a fantastic runner according to Brown.
“When I met him, cross country had a family feeling to it,” Brown said. “He was not only a big influence, but he was an achiever so I used him as a goal and tried to stay with him on the course.”
Brown feels running cross country is something that he enjoys, especially pushing yourself to get better. In fact, he feels the sport calms him down.
“Having graduated a lot of seniors from last year’s team, Sasha put in a lot of miles over the off-season to get ready for this year,” Holliston Cross Country Coach Aaron Ladd said. “He runs an eighteen minute 5K and is usually our top runner. He brings a lot of energy to the course and is known throughout the league.”
As only a junior, he was elected captain by his teammates, which says a lot about his character on and off the course. Being named a captain shocked the junior although his coach believes he deserves it.
“It was amazing being named captain, but it came as a surprise,” he said. “As a captain, I want to keep the family atmosphere alive. When I was a freshman, we only had about 14 kids on the team. This year, the group is much bigger, around 25-29 kids, and I’m responsible for making sure they enjoy themselves.”
Individually, Brown would like to get his 5K time under 17 minutes by the end of the season and feels it is accomplishable if he continues working on it.
“I just need to push myself. When I’m out in front by myself, I feel that I don’t always run as fast as I should be running,” Brown said. “But when you have someone there with you, it clicks. There is a fire that is lit, and you run faster, so hopefully there will be a lot of competitive runners to keep me moving.”
If Sasha does push himself, Coach Ladd sees good things for his junior runner.
“At this point, he’s on the fringe of being an All Star,” the coach said. “His goal is to push himself, so that he can accomplish that goal. He continues to get better one day at a time.”
While Brown still has two years left at Holliston, he is already thinking about running in college and beyond that.
“I definitely want to run in college,” he said. “But it will not be over when school is finished for good. Running is a continuous sport that you can do anytime and hand down to your children to do.”