Brown making niche while a Razorback
Baldwin High product Eric Brown is doing quite well in his new role as a Razorback, thank you very much. In fact, he's well on his way to becoming the University of Arkansas' record holder in the javelin for the national track power.
Brown, who won two Class 4A state titles in the javelin while at Baldwin High School while helping the Bulldogs to a state title, has a best throw this year of 235-6. That came in the opening meet of the season at the University of Texas, which marked the first time in that meet's 77-year history that at U of A javelin thrower won the event.
"That was an amazing performance by Eric," said Arkansas field events coach Dick Booth. "I don't think any of us could have known that was going to happen. Now Eric's kind of opened up the box."
Yes, he has. The following week, at Arkansas' only home meet of the outdoor season, he tossed the javelin an even 242-0, which eclipsed the Razorback record of 240-11 set in 1990. But, his toes crossed the line and he fouled, so it didn't count.
"I could feel that it was a good throw, much better than all the others," said Brown. "I just got a little too close to the line. I'm glad I know I can throw that far, I just wish it had counted. But, it was my fault for going over the line, so I guess I deserved that."
Brown has a good chance of eclipsing that mark, but it will come from hard work if it happens. It will also offset an injury-riddled freshman year. First it was a pulled groin, then a a pulled back muscle.
That's attributed to the weight he put on that year. By hitting the weights, Brown went from 180 pounds to 205 his freshman year on his 6-foot-4 frame.
"Last year I got so much stronger so fast that I think it kind of took my joints a while to catch up to the rest of me," he said. "That's why I kept getting pulled muscles. Now I'm used to the weight and everything has stabilized."
Stabilized is one way to put it. His coach has another idea.
"Eric has improved so much since last year," said Arkansas head track coach John McDonnell. "All the hard work he did last year with (volunteer javelin coach) Andrew (McDonagh) is paying off now and he's having a great sophomore year."
Brown has already surpassed his goal of 230-0 this year. Now he's aiming for the Arkansas record. He's already in the No. 2 spot on the Razorback books, is ranked No. 7 nationally and has qualified for the NCAA regionals.
"I didn't think I would have a chance to get the record this year, but it's definitely a good goal to have now," he said. "If I put things together, I really don't know the limit."
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