Feature photo courtesy of NJ MileSplit.
In this year’s NJSIAA South Sectionals meet, Bria Mack, of Williamstown High School (NJ), did what might have been considered an afterthought seven months ago. During the sectionals meet Mack pulled off a triple with a series of incredible victories in the 100m, 200m, and 400m events. Mack’s time of 11.68 in the 100m dash is the 12th fastest in the state’s history and fourth fastest in South Jersey.
Back in November, Mack was lying on a hospital bed having been told that she was diagnosed with cysts disease. Her mind was racing and she needed answers.
“I had cysts, and I really needed to know what I could do to get them removed or how to deal with them,” she said.
Coming back, Mack’s indoor season proved to be an emotionally difficult season for her, as she had to “deal with a lot of problems in indoor due to not feeling good.” Once she had her health taken care of she took off, and it all worked out for her in the end.
Mack is not one to set goals. Coming into a season, she says, “I just try to have fun.” That statement was especially true this year because it was her junior year, and she says that “everyone tries to put a lot of pressure on you until you perform.” Instead, she focuses on just having fun and training hard.
That’s exactly what she did this past season, and it worked.
During the Tri Country County Conference Championships, Mack broke her previous personal record in the 200, with a time of 24.45, besting her previous time, of 24.53. The following week at sectionals, she pulled off triple sweep in the 100m, 200m, with the time of 24.37, and 400m, with the time of 57.9, all the while besting her previous personal records. Mack concluded her season with a first place finish in the 100m dash at the State Meet of Champions with the time of 11.87, and a 6th place finish at Brooks PR Invitational with the time of 11.88.
Mack is entering her last year of high school, and the only goal that she has set for herself is to commit by November.
“I usually don’t set goals for myself. It’s senior year, so I guess I just want to commit early because I don’t want that pressure on me,” she said. “By November, I would have already verbally committed. I’m trying to get my visits out of the way as soon as possible.”
The recruiting process has been “great” for Mack thus far. She says, “I have an idea of where I want to go, but that can always change. “
Mack has received interest from many schools. Some of the notable schools that she has received interest from are Clemson, Miami, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Arizona State, Missouri, Brown, Yale, University of Penn, and Harvard.
“I was really surprised [to receive offers from] Clemson and the University of Miami because they have great sprinting tradition. When I was talking to the Kentucky coach, I was really surprised,” she said.
Mack says that she wants to go to a school that can offer a balance between a great track team and academic curriculum. She says the reason for this is because she wants to major in finance, so she is looking for a school with a strong business program.
“It’s kind of different with each school because with Ivy League schools like Brown, you can study what you want and there isn’t a strict curriculum, but their track team isn’t the greatest,” she said. “And when you get offers from the SEC schools it’s like ‘OMG,’ but their academics might not be there, so it’s back to square one because you don’t want to go to a school with a great track team but a not so great academic curriculum. “
Mack’s high school track career is coming to an end this upcoming season, and she does not want to take it for granted. She knows how special the sport of track and field is to her. Mack has plans of enjoying her last season competing with her team and coaches in front of her mother who may not be able to attend every single meet again as she has been able to thus far.
“It’s my last time competing in my home state, so I don’t want to take that for granted because nothing is promised,” she said. “What seems like it couldn’t be, could be, and that’s something special because you never know how many times you can run.”
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