Former Lompoc High School standout Chrisshnay Brown knew she wanted to find a university that provided the same family environment she enjoyed in high school. The search was a long one that officially ended on Tuesday when Brown signed a scholarship offer from Washington State to continue her track and field career as a Cougar.
Surrounded by former teammates, coaches and family members, Brown was all smiles during the brief ceremony at Paisola Pavilion. Brown’s mother, Ltoya Cox, said she never doubted her daughter’s ability to accomplish any goal she set her mind to achieve.
“I am so proud of her,” Cox said. “Since she started, pretty much in kindergarten, that’s when she always wouldn’t accept anything but her very best.”
Brown had multiple colleges offering her scholarships and financial aid support, but Cox said her daughter kept searching until she found a place that felt like home.
“She wasn’t getting that family feeling until she walked into Washington State and she knew immediately that [Pullman, Wash.] was going to be her home. She hadn’t even finished the tour yet and she said, ‘This is it, mom.’”
Brown, who was wearing a Washington State polo shirt, said she was eager to get started and will be in Pullman by Saturday. Brown will throw hammer and weights for the Cougars.
While Brown excelled as a thrower at Lompoc, she packed her schedule with a variety of athletic and academic challenges.
Brown participated in cheer, basketball, volleyball and even football. She was a starting offensive lineman for the junior varsity team as a sophomore. She also was an honors student who delivered the “Brave Pride” address at the school’s graduation ceremony in June.
Managing her stressful schedule wasn’t always easy and there were low moments when she lacked motivation, but Brown said her experience at Lompoc High prepared her for the demands of college.
“It felt like I never got a break,” Brown said, laughing. “I went from one sport to the next. Of course school came first, but, if I [felt] down, I always had to come to practice and my team would bring me back up. Being on all the different teams with all the different people, I met a lot of friends and it taught me time management that I will carry on with me.”
Michael Sarar, the throwing coach at Lompoc High, said, despite all of Brown’s other obligations, she was able to put in the time to become one of the state’s top discus and shot put throwers. She had the 13th-best girls discus qualifying mark for the state prelims in her senior season and qualified ninth for the state finals at 134 feet, 9 inches.
“She does everything at a high level,” Sarar said. “She has a lot of internal drive. A lot of that comes from her mom.”
Brown said it will be tough for her mother and the rest of the family to adjust to her moving so far away.
“My mom is a single parent and she’s nervous,” Brown said. “It’s hard for her with me leaving. Going to my games was all the family does together. We go to the games and watch sports together. Without me they’re like, ‘We’re going to have nowhere to go anymore.’”
But there were no bittersweet feelings, Sarar said, as he watched his star pupil finish the final step before starting her college career. He plans to follow Brown’s college throwing exploits and stay in touch.
“She’s changed the way I coach,” Sarar said. “She came in my second year and I only had two girls the year before. The way I coached boys was completely different. She’s been a big part of my learning process, too. I don’t think this is saying goodbye.”