Birchmount Park Collegiate Grade 12 student-athlete Aaron Brown did not win the Junior Athlete of the Year honour presented at the 37th Canadian Sports Awards ceremony last week.
He however considers himself a champion to be nominated with Canadian short track speed skater Marianne St. Gelais who won two silver medals at the just concluded Vancouver Winter Olympics and biathlete Kurtis Wenzel who captured a gold medal at last year’s world junior championships in Canmore, Alberta.
Brown was nominated for becoming the first Canadian to capture a medal at last summer’s world youth track and field championships in Italy. He clinched a silver medal in the 100-metre dash in 10.74 secs. after establishing a personal best 10.46 secs. in the quarter-finals.
The bi-annual event, which began in 1999, is for athletes 19 years and under.
“When you look around the room at the athletes here and the body of their work, I am in awe of what they have achieved,” Brown, who won the Athletics Canada youth award last year, said. “It feels good to be in the presence of other athletes who have shone brightly for Canada.”
The 6’2″ multi-sport athlete, who played basketball before turning to track and football – he’s a wide receiver with the Birchmount Park Panthers, who were shut out 19-0 in the Greater Toronto Area Metro Bowl high school title contest last November – has committed to the University of Southern California (USC) on a track scholarship.
“I had many offers,” said Brown, who aspires to be a lawyer or entrepreneur. “But it came down to Florida State, Texas A & M and Louisiana State and I chose USC because they have the best academics and sports program that I felt I would be able to get something out of. The balance is good there and I felt comfortable even though I know it’s far from home. The other thing for me is that I wanted to get away from the cold weather.”
Before leaving high school this year, Brown is seeking to recapture the form that saw him run unbeaten in the 100- and 200-metre events and set provincial high school junior-age records in the 100-metre and 4 x 100-metre races in 2008. Last June, Neil McNeil High School sprinter Dushane Farrier defeated Brown in the senior boys’ 100-metre final at Varsity stadium.
“Leaving high school on a high note is definitely something I want to do,” said Brown who started competing for the Phoenix Track Club two years ago.
Brown’s mother, Sonia who was born in England to Barbadian parents, said she and her Jamaican-born husband, Ian, are proud of their only son’s achievements. The family also includes two daughters.
“Aaron is an amazing athlete, student and person who works extremely hard at everything he puts his mind to,” she said.
The Canadian Sports Awards promote sporting excellence across Canada and recognize the contributions of athletes, coaches, volunteers and corporate supporters.
“You are all here because you have achieved great things in your chosen sport over the past year and you should be proud of your achievements,” Ontario Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best told the athletes. “Your dedication and courage to be the best you can inspires Canadians of all ages and backgrounds to participate in sport and healthy and active living…Our health is our wealth and sport provides a strong foundation for health overall.”