When the boys 110m hurdlers line up Saturday at Flo Golden South, the athlete with the most state titles might not be who you think. Sure, the field has Northeast junior Damion Thomas who owns a US#2 (tie) time of 13.42 one of the fastest times for a youth in the world and two state titles to his name. Then there is Braxton Canady, the senior, and University of Oregon signee Braxton Canady. Canady was the runner-up behind Thomas in the 110h and won the 300h for class 3A. Indoors, he was the runner-up at New Balance Nationals behind Grant Holloway. However, it is American Heritage senior McKinly Brown, who has two individual titles, and two relay golds from the Sunshine State to go along with a state title his junior year in the state of North Carolina.
Brown comes from a family of athletes, so running truly does run in his blood. His mother Barbara Smith was a 15x All-American mid-distance runner at Prairie View A&M while dad was a sprinter at St. Augustine College. His older brother Roy Smith was a state championship 110m hurdler for Northwestern in 2010. He says he was put into the sport following in their footsteps.
"When I first started running the 400m hurdles I used to spring and hold on but he showed me how to break down the race so it would become easier and I'd have a lot more energy to come home with."
"Winning state with my AMH, my coaches and the rest of the team was the highlight of my year. That's the goal of any team, but to come here in my first year at this school and do it is even better."
Since the state meet ended two weeks ago, Brown hasn't been vacationing, he has been putting in work. At the South Florida Track & Field Showcase May 19th, he clocked a US#4 time of 52.45 in the 400m hurdles, his first race at that distance this year. He will compete in both the 110m hurdles and 400m hurdles at this weekend's Flo Golden South and says what makes him such a strong hurdler is his 800m background and passion for the sport.
"I come to practice ready to work and get the workout over with. Whatever my coaches give me as a workout, I buy into it because I know it is going to work.I'm not worried about whose on the line with me. All I know is I'm going to have a lot of turnover between the hurdles and can get back on the ground faster than the rest of the field."
With automatic ticket to the Brooks PR Invitational in the hurdle races, he knows he is going to have to start the finals off on the right note, and leave a lasting impression.
"I'm really looking for a PR in the 110's. I don't really like them that much, but I'd love to get that golden ticket to go to Brooks PR because I've been training hard all year. To get that ticket would be pretty amazing."