SHELBY — Area fans wondering what Caleb Brown could possibly do for an encore were treated to a preview over the weekend.
The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Brown won the big-school division of the Seneca East Tiger Cross Country Classic in resounding fashion Saturday. The Shelby senior finished in 15 minutes, 18.15 seconds, more than 45 seconds ahead of runner-up Alex McCarty of Eaton.
The victory came on the heels of Brown’s third straight Richland County Cross Country title earlier in the week at Madison, where he coasted to the finish line in 16:32.
“This season is going to be fun,” Brown said.
It just might be one for the record books, too.
Brown led Shelby to a Division II state track championship last spring, running a leg of the winning 4x800 relay on the state meet’s opening day then following up with a sweep of the 1,600 and 3,200 runs on the second day.
A few weeks later, Brown won a two-mile national title at the New Balance Nationals at North Carolina A&T State University. He finished in 9:04.18.
The only thing that has eluded Brown is a cross country state title. He was third as a sophomore and was runner-up to Lexington’s Kyle Johnston last fall.
Shelby was favored to win the Division II cross country team title last fall, but finished a disappointing third. That performance served as motivation to Brown and his teammates at last spring’s state track meet.
“For those distance guys, cross country was rough,” Shelby coach Chris Zuercher said at the time. “We were going in as favorites and I think that was probably the best team in the state.
“Caleb Brown is an All-American who makes it look easy. It’s not easy.”
The Whippets will be in action Saturday at the Ashland Cross Country Invitational. Brown won the Division II race at Ashland last year by almost 20 seconds.
“I go into every race not even worrying about time,” Brown said. "I go in to race for the win. The times will always come … as long as I come out and race for the win, the times will get there.”