Watching her son, Jameel Brown, storm from behind to anchor York University’s 4 x200-metre relay team to victory on its way to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national track and field title last March in Edmonton brought back memories to Andrea (Hastick) Brown.
She was a member of the university’s 1988 and 1990 national championship teams and part of the 4×200-metre quartet that clinched a gold medal 24 years ago.
While celebrating her eldest child’s triumph in her Greater Toronto Area living room almost 2,685 kilometres away, little did Andrea know that she and her son had just become the first parent and child to help the university capture national championships.
With a stellar career that also includes nine Ontario Women’s Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA) medals and two provincial banners, Brown is headed to York University’s Sport Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony takes place on September 19.
“This is an awesome achievement and I am very honoured,” said the seven-time all-star, who is the daughter of Vincentian and Jamaican immigrants. “What I accomplished on the track and in the classroom speak to perseverance, commitment and the ability to finish something that I started.”
Helping York University capture two national university championships in three years at York remains special for Brown.
In her freshman year, the team was comprised of just five female athletes and the number of competitors increased to seven two years later. The 2013-14 women’s team was comprised of 25 female track and field athletes.
“When you consider what we did with just a few of us, that was quite an achievement,” she said. “It required that we do several events.”
The CIS triple jump champion in 1991, Brown also won medals in the long jump and relays at the OWIAA level.
Graduating from Erindale Secondary School after also attending Holy Name of Mary Secondary School, Brown said she chose to enrol in York because it was the closest university to her Peel home and there were some high-profile athletes in the program.
“I realized I could do well in the sport and thought York provided the best opportunity to excel in track and field and in the classroom,” said Brown, who was ranked seventh in Canada indoors in the triple jump in 1989 with 11.57 metres.
In 1991, the mother of three children graduated from York University with honours in political science. She has been teaching for the last eight years at Brampton’s Cheyne Middle School, where she assists with the track and field and cross country programs.
“Teaching is my passion,” said Brown, who started her teaching career with the Toronto District School Board. “I like to see students achieve, regardless of where they start off. I admire the look in their eyes when they have accomplished something and worked hard for it. It’s just like track and field.”
A total of 104 alumni (this year’s class included) have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, which was established in 1980. It was suspended for 14 years up until 2000 because of a lack of financial resources before being revived.