Jacksonville or Georgia, it mattered not. In late July, Cayden Brickman ran in the most important races of her career.
A senior track athlete at Stillwater High, Brickman traveled to Rome, Georgia, with her family to run in the USATF Youth National Championship.
Brickman ran her first half-marathon when she was 10 years old with her parents. Now, accompanied by the same people eight years later in the stands, she found herself racing against people from all over the country.
“My mom and grandma pretty much go to every race,” Brickman said. “My grandpa and dad come to the ones that they can. They try to come to all of them.”
Runners from states including Arizona, Tennessee and Missouri came to Barron Stadium to compete in the National Championships. The events were slated to be held in Florida, but we moved to Georgia due to COVID-19.
The pristine red track hosted sprinters and distance runners, while the spacious infield provided space for athletes to throw javelin, discus and high jump.
Brickman’s trip was successful. A long-distance runner, she competed in a few individual events, taking third place in the 17-18 women’s 3,000-meter run and fourth place in the 17-18 women’s 1,500-meter run.
“I was really excited to get some new competition,” Brickman said. “Because with school meets, we’re just racing Oklahoma teams. It’s definitely different to have teams from all over the United States.”
Representing her club track team, Jenks America Track Team, which she joined in November, Brickman also got a second place as part of the 3,200-meter relay team.
Her favorite race of the meet was the fourth-place finish in the 1,500, where she recorded a time of 4 minutes, 46.81 seconds.
“That was a pretty big time drop for me and it translates to a pretty fast time in the mile, which I’m excited about,” Brickman said. “That’s probably what I’m most proud of.”
An aspiring doctor, Brickman is part of a fellowship that enables her to shadow various doctors at hospital clinics to gain experience. She also hopes to run collegiately – a goal that was furthered when schools reached out to her after her performance at the national championships.
Between training to run in front of opponents and preparing to run behind others, the Stillwater resident is thankful for a usually-unpopular thing – a long car ride.
“It definitely is a lot to try and do my schoolwork, but with my club being in Jenks, I have an hour and a half drive there, so I can work on homework then if I need to,” Brickman said.