Amrich taking big strides for Rams in 400

Strasburg's Brooklyn Amrich runs during Monday's practice. Amrich is hoping to improve on her strong season last year, in which she placed eighth in the 400. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG — Strasburg track sprints and jumps coach Emily Brandon asked sprinter/jumper Brooklyn Amrich to give the 400-meter run a try last year during track season. At first, Amrich was a little unsure about the event.

Once she ran one race, Amrich was hooked and Strasburg’s track program has benefited greatly.

“[Brandon] was like, ‘Just try the 4×400 [relay] for me one night.’ I ran that 400 and I was like, ‘This is awesome,'” Amrich said. “I loved that race. The competition in the 400 is great.”

Amrich said that she didn’t realize how good she could really be in the 400 until the Conference 35 meet, where she placed fourth in the event.

She said she was also encouraged when former Strasburg track coach Glenn Proctor gave her some positive feedback.

“[Finishing fourth in conference] was a higher place than I expected. I was like, ‘I’m going to stick with this. I think I can get better at it,'” Amrich said. “Coach Proctor was like, ‘Brooklyn, I see potential in you in the 400,’ and that really made me want to do it.”

Amrich did a little bit of everything for the Rams last year. She ran in the 100, 200, 400, 4×400 relay, 4×100 relay, triple jump, high jump and long jump.

Brandon said she was the team’s best sprinter, and she felt like the 400 would be perfect for Amrich.

“She has a natural stride for the 400, which is why I kind of threw her in there in hopes that she could do well and she did,” Brandon said. “She is the type of athlete that if you need someone to go and do an event, you can throw her in and she’s got it.”

Amrich placed sixth in the 400 in regionals, just making a qualifying spot for the Group A state meet.

She said she didn’t expect much from the state meet, but things turned out really well. Amrich placed eighth to make all-state honors and a new personal record with a time of 1:03.50.

“I was like, ‘I barely made it in regionals. So I’m just going to get last, it doesn’t matter,’ and then I proved myself wrong,” Amrich said. “I didn’t expect it at all. I was ranked 12th, and I guess I just beat some of the girls in the faster heat. I ran in the slower heat, so it was really a surprise when I saw my name come across the board — I was so happy.”

Amrich said she started running track in seventh grade, and actually thought she might like distance running the best. She said her friends asked her to be a sprinter as a freshman and so she gave it a try.

She was immediately one of the fastest sprinters on the team, and she said having success quickly helped make things a little easier her freshman year.

“At first I was intimidated by the senior girls. I was really scared, but then I ended up being faster than some of them,” Amrich said. “So I knew I didn’t have to be scared of them. I was like, ‘I’m faster than you,’ and they were intimidated by me taking their spot in races, and then they kind of accepted me and made me feel part of the team.”

Amrich said it’s always her goal to be the fastest on the team, even in practice. She said she’s very competitive, and that’s one of the things she loves about running in track.

She also gets those competitive juices flowing by working out with the boys’ team during practice.

“Training with the boys is great because they just push me,” Amrich said. “I can’t stand losing, so running with them, I’ll try to keep up there with those fast boys. I can’t beat every boy out there, but every time I beat a boy that just feels great to me.”

Amrich said she likes doing the jumps the best, but she knows she’s better at the 400. She said she also enjoys being able to do so many different events to help the team.

“I like doing a lot of events,” Amrich said. “It keeps me busy throughout the day, especially since track meets are so long.”

After the stellar season she had as a sophomore, Amrich said that she has very high goals for herself this season.

“I expect to get to states. I expect that out of myself,” Amrich said. “I’m really pushing hard to make sure I get there and qualify earlier on in the season. Then when I get to states, I hope to place — fourth is the lowest that I’ll accept. I want to get high up there. I really want to show coach Brandon that I can do it.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or