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Freshman runs her way to varsity

Freshman+Kallin+Brown+is+the+only+freshman+on+the+girls%27+varsity+cross+country+team.+
Freshman Kallin Brown is the only freshman on the girls' varsity cross country team.

Freshman Kallin Brown is the only freshman on the girls' varsity cross country team.

Perry Mellone

Perry Mellone

Freshman Kallin Brown is the only freshman on the girls' varsity cross country team.

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Preparing for Saturday’s cross country meet at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock for the McNeil Invitational, Kallin Brown stands out. Not because of her size, but because of her age. The only freshman on the girls’ varsity cross country team, Kallin Brown’s journey to as a runner began in 7th grade.  

“I just wanted to make the team at first but after I started running, I really wanted to make varsity,” Kallin said. “It was really exciting and really rewarding. I’d been working so hard throughout the summer and waking up early. Knowing that I made varsity was a really good feeling. We started running during the summer and starting then is when I started working really hard.”

I just wanted to make the team at first but after I started running, I really wanted to make varsity,”

— freshman Kallin Brown

Being on varsity last year, sophomore Amelia Jauregui knows the feeling.

“I know just including her in everything that we are doing and not making her feel unwelcome, being a freshman,” Jauregui said. “Because knowing last year with how everybody took me under their wing, I knew what to do when Kallin came. It was really nice last year for me when other people were caring for me and giving me tips and advice so I just wanted to pay it forward for Kallin and anyone else who’s new and needs advice.”

Unlike other sports, the top seven are chosen for the cross country varsity team regardless of a runner’s age.

“Her times are right there with all of the varsity kids,” head cross country coach Amanda Zambiasi said. “She’s probably right now my fourth or fifth runner and you can run seven. Kallin’s a very quiet kid, but she’s out there. From the very beginning, I’ve always asked her to do all of the upper level workouts and all of the varsity workouts and she’s always stepped up, she’s always done them. She has an exceptional work ethic and gels with the team well. So there’s definitely a maturity there. She fit right in with that group.”

Kallin has been on Zambiasi’s radar since last year, running on the 8th grade cross country team.

“Last year, when she was doing well in middle school running, she came up and ran with the girls just one day at practice and fit right in with the group too so there was definitely not any hesitation at all,” Zambiasi said.

But Kallin did more than make the varsity cross country team, she also earned a varsity spot on the girls’ soccer team.

You just have to set goals and push yourself,”

— Kallin Brown

“It’s cool, not many people do it,” Kallin said. “You get more experiences. It’s definitely a privilege that I had to work hard for. You just have to set goals and push yourself.”

Sister Kassidi Brown has been right there with her playing on the varsity soccer team as well, in her senior year.

“I’ve been able to help her a lot in soccer like the transition from middle school to varsity but honestly she’s just super competitive herself,” Kassidi said. “So it’s kind of been easy for her to move from a middle school level to a varsity high school level.”

In just her second year as a cross country runner, Kallin utilizes her skills from soccer.

“I think soccer helped a lot,” Kallin said. “You have to have a lot of endurance to be able to play soccer and I play center-mid so you’re running around the whole time. So I think that helped. I’m also very competitive so I think that helped too.”

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Freshman runs her way to varsity