Izzy Brown won high jump gold at the South of England Championships – and earned a ringing endorsement from coach Dave Churcher as she prepares to take her talents Stateside.
The 19-year-old Chichester AC athlete departs for Colorado State University next month for four years to continue her exciting track-and-field development.
It represents a massive blow for Churcher, who has nurtured her undoubted potential for the past couple of seasons.
But as a way of thanks, multi-eventer Brown prepared to say goodbye with victory in one of her last outings on home soil at Watford’s Woodside Stadium.
A jump of 1m 70cm saw the talented teenager claim the under-20 title at the prestigious event.
The win was yet another significant marker on Brown’s already-impressive CV, which also includes an outstanding fourth-placed finish at the recent England Athletics Combined Events Championships.
It also reaffirmed Churcher’s belief what a special athlete he has witnessed blossom in recent years, leading the coach to predict the brightest of futures for the Bognor Regis girl.
‘I’m very sad Izzy’s leaving,’ admitted Churcher.
‘She will be missed by many, many people – obviously her mum and dad and very much myself as well.
‘But I wish her well. She’s worked very, very hard and is probably one of the most dedicated athletes I’ve ever coached.
‘It’s a wonderful opportunity for her and she’ll enjoy every minute of it and become a much, much better athlete than she is already.
‘I’m hoping she will still stay with combined events, which I think is going to be the case.
‘She’s already got a good points total of 4,362 and can get close to 5,000 so I think the future looks nothing but promising for her.’
With the South of England Heptathlon Championships, plus the English Schools’ Championships, on the horizon before her departure to America, Brown was determined to put in another impressive performance in Watford to boost her confidence even further.
And that’s certainly what she achieved, according to her coach.
‘I thought Sunday was very, very good,’ added Churcher.
‘Izzy has had problems over the past year, injury-wise, and Sunday really looked good.
‘She was really smooth in her run-up, which is very, very encouraging.
‘We’ve got a little bit of work to do on the last couple of strides but everything is almost back together again.
‘Sunday was a very, very happy day.’
Brown admitted she achieved what she set out to achieve – another title under her belt.
‘I’m getting back into form so 1.70 is a height I’m quite happy with – and I came to win.
‘I wanted to win beforehand and I’m happy I won.
‘I’m very happy to be coming back with a medal and it’s very pretty, too.
‘I’ve also now been invited to the Welsh international in a few weeks so that’s more good news before I go off to America, which is really exciting.’