DENTON, TEXAS--If you didn't know much about Brynn Brown prior to Saturday, read up.
The Denton Guyer (TX) High School junior, ranked No. 10 on the Week 1 MileSplit50 cross country rankings, astonished on her home course at the Texas MileSplit Invitational at South Lakes Park, producing a US No. 1 5K time of 16:12.00 to shatter her own course record by 29 seconds.
The effort was just six seconds off the national all-time 5K girls record of 16:06.87, put down by North Rockland's Katelyn Tuohy in 2018 at the Ocean State Invitational in New Jersey. It now stands at No. 2 all-time.
"It's kind of surreal," Brown said. "I've been putting in the work this summer and I was expecting a pretty fast time out the gate, but to already be at this, at this point in the season, feels pretty incredible. I'm still kind of in shock. I haven't processed it."
It set the stage for what could be a wild season full of remarkable performances from some of the country's finest runners, and it was the first big statement from Brown, whom many believe can compete with the top athletes in the country following a breakthrough junior season. She's now broken 17 minutes twice in the past two seasons on this course.
"I felt pretty strong surprisingly for going out that hard," Brown said. "It was an indicator that that was a true 5K. I'm excited with the time and everything."
The Denton Guyer junior and blue-chip distance recruit qualified for both Nike Cross Nationals and Foot Locker Nationals a year ago, though her most recent and best performance came via the outdoor season when she ran 9:57.54 for the full two miles at Brooks PR.
She opened her cross country campaign last week with a comfortable effort, winning the South Carroll Invitational in 17:17.19, though she remarked on Saturday that the course was a bit long and had the tracking data to prove it.
Saturday's effort, her second on the course in two seasons, came with some key factors: Home course, good conditions, fair weather.
This marked the third straight year at South Lakes following earlier installments at Dutch Branch Park.
It led to a race as dominant as they come, with Brown shooting out from the start and settling into a consistent, albeit fast, rhythm. She opened with a 4:54 mile, shedding the next fastest competitor, and maintained throughout a relatively flat course. Brown flew past the 2-mile mark at 10:26 and shattered her former course record of 16:41.13.
"I definitely got excited," she said. "It was kind of, 'Go as hard as you can, get a really 5K time.' I was really shooting for a fast time. I got out a little too hard. I was really excited. It's a home meet. A lot of energy. Nonetheless, it was really exciting."
Greenhill's Maddie Hatfield was second in 17:30, while Flower Mound's Natalie Cook was third in 17:37.
Cook led the Jaguars, who posted an average of 18:06, to the overall team title with 40 points as the program continued to dominant over the first weeks of the season.