* Justin Braun won a 400m title from the outside lane at the AAU Junior Olympics in 2019
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While a season of possible PRs went out the window for Justin Braun with the closure of the outdoor track and field season this spring, the Thomas Worthingtown (OH) High School sophomore has kept things in perspective.
"You can't dwell on this stuff," he said recently. "It's track. You have to keep training."
Better yet, in a recent interview with Ohio MileSplit's Mark Dwyer, Braun, the nation's fastest 400 meter runner over the indoor season gave insight into what his plans are for next year.
"I will say now," Braun said. "I will be competing competitively in the 100m next year. The 200 will be a big focus of mine. If I focus on those two, it will help my 400m even more."
While for much of his first two indoor and outdoor seasons, Braun was a 400m specialist with improving speed in the 200m, he said his plans for 2021 will be to add consistent 100 meter -- and potentially long jump -- training into his arsenal.
Braun finished the indoor season with the nation's No. 1 mark in the 400m with a time of 46.77 and the country's sixth-best effort in the 200m in 21.38. His 60m effort of 6.85 seconds was also fifth-best in Ohio and No. 36 overall.
The previous season, as a freshman, he hit 21.72 seconds on the clock for the 200m and 46.76 in the 400m, efforts that were No. 9 and No. 1 in the overall freshman class, respectively. He won 400m titles at the OHSAA Division I State Track and Field Championships, the AAU Club National Championships and the 15-16 age group dvision at the AAU Junior Olympics.
But he only secured a sub-11 effort in the 100m once, with a wind-aided time of 10.90 seconds at the Ohio Capital Conference Championships.
Much of his work over the coming months will focus on improving specific phases within his races.
"I''m putting focus a lot of focus into hill work now in building acceleration and overall strength," he said. "That's my weak point in my 200m. And just the finish. Everything changes in the last 50 meters. It doesn't matter how hard you go out, it's all in the finish."
Braun still needs to improve signficantly to go after Ohio's all-time state records of 10.38 in the 100m (Brandon Saine, Piqua, 2006), 20.47 in the 200m (Chris Nelloms, Dayton Dunbar, 1990) and 45.59 in the 400m (Chris Nelloms, Dayton Dunbar, 1990).
Only 13 boys in Ohio history have won the "triple crown" in the sprint events, winning all three events.
But the young Ohio talent says that's the plan.
"My main goal before this (all went down) was to get my four-peat," Braun said of his state championship dreams. "This corona stuff, I don't think that's possible. But (now), I want all the sprint records for the Ohio state meet."