The Day's 2016 All-Area Girls' Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year: Ledyard's Megan Brawner
Megan Brawner started her day at 7 a.m. with a Ledyard High School Key Club meeting. Then classes, one of her favorites being journalism; she is editor in chief of the school’s newsmagazine, The Colonel. Then the first week of outdoor track practice, preparing for a time trial the following day.
After that, Brawner took a trip to New London with her dad, Mike, to have her photo taken as The Day’s 2016 All-Area Girls’ Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year and was headed home to update the Key Club web site and work on a yearbook story about the boys’ tennis team.
Excellence, apparently, doesn’t rest.
“There is not much that she does not do and the remarkable piece is that she does everything exceptionally well,” said Ledyard’s athletic director, Jim Buonocore. “There is nothing average about Megan. … She exudes Colonel pride and all that is great about Ledyard High School.”
“Freshman year, not to promote Ledyard, but everyone’s so friendly. They give you an opportunity right off the bat,” Brawner said of her commitment to the school community. “I’ve made the most out of high school. My dad is involved in everything possible. He’s on the board of ed. He told me to take advantage of opportunities and always work hard and it’ll pay off in the end.”
Brawner, a senior in the midst of her final sports season at Ledyard, is also a future Division I athlete, a signee at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.
Brawner has been named The Day’s athlete of the year in three straight seasons now in indoor and outdoor track, as well as cross country.
The winner of the 1,000- (3 minutes, 8.31 seconds) and 3,200-meter (12:08.26) events at this winter’s Eastern Connecticut Conference Large Division indoor track championship, Brawner went on to top-six finishes in the 1,000 (third) and 1,600 (fifth) at the Class M state meet and in the State Open 1,000 meters (sixth).
She closed her season at the New England meet Feb. 28 at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston with a 16th-place finish in the 1,000.
Brawner is the reigning Class MM state champion in the 800 meters outdoors.
“Each season brings something new. It’s a new experience,” Brawner said. “I made it to the Open in cross country and I had never done that before. This year, I made it to New England (in indoor track). … You always put pressure on youself because once you do well, coaches expect the same level. There’s so much pressure with times and workouts.”
Brawner found her first trip to the New England meet to be on the intimidating side. It was her first time running on a banked track. In addition, the meet schedule was reorganized, postponing her race for nearly half an hour after she had already warmed up.
“It was the last meet for most people. Everyone was nervous. It was pretty quiet,” Brawner said. “It was pretty professional. You felt really professional. The whole stadium was filled with people.”
Brawner’s spring, so far, has included some hurdling, something to help her when it comes time to run the CIAC steeplechase event at the end of the season, a race in which she missed the school record last year by a couple of seconds despite falling over virtually every water hazard.
It is just Brawner’s second outdoor season after switching over from tennis.
“I’m trying to obviously defend the (state 800) title. I want to make the most out of my last outdoor season,” Brawner said. “I still have a lot to learn, to see what I’m good at.”
She plans to major in business at Central. Her twin brother Kevin will also be a business major at UMass Dartmouth.
But Brawner has a few more aspirations, as well. One is to wear the mascot uniform at some point at Central. Megan Brawner, Blue Devil. And ...
“I would like to run for (U.S.) president,” Brawner said. “… A lot of people don’t know how to communicate. No one knows how to listen to each other. People need to calm down.”
And, knowing her, that’s probably not all.
Said Buonocore of Brawner: “She will leave our building in June as one of the most decorated and successful athletes to ever walk the halls of Ledyard High School. Above it all, she is an outstanding person who is admired by her peers and respected by the faculty and staff.”
The Day's 2016 All-Area Girls' Indoor Track & Field Team
Player of the Year — Megan Brawner (Ledyard)
55-meter dash — Madison Powe (Fitch)
300 — Sam Lee (Old Lyme)
600 — Mady Whittaker (Montville)
1,600 — Rasa Kirvelevicius (East Lyme)
55 hurdles — Haley Ashton (East Lyme)
4x200 relay — Old Lyme (Sam Lee, Maddie Ouellette, Jenna Peduzzi, Julia Smith)
4x400 relay — East Lyme (Claire Mason, Hannah Gellar, Cassidy Abdeen, Haley Ashton)
4x800 relay — Fitch (Molly Reinhold, Carolyn Ellis, Alicia Moroyoqui, Kitty Potter)
Sprint medley relay — East Lyme (Saige Deveau, Anne Quevreaux, Lindsey Kollmer, Kirsten Thompson)
High jump — Sydnee Spruill (Fitch)
Pole vault — Kelsie Hall (NFA)
Long jump — Alexis Burgess (East Lyme)
Shot put — Mikaela LoPriore (East Lyme)
Utility — Lindsey Orr (Stonington)