Brawley named Girls Athletes of the Week

Published 4:06 am Thursday, October 7, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Niles girls' cross country team has been led by a surprise runner this season, Samantha Brawley. Brawley has led the Vikings, even though she is a freshman.
Making her season's performance more surprising, Niles coach Dan VandenHeede said, is that she's only a part-time cross country runner. Basketball is Brawley's primary sport.
It is her consistent excellence on the cross country course, however, that earned her the Niles Daily Star Girls Athlete of the Week for Sept. 26-Oct. 2.
So far this season, Brawley has had three Top 10 finishes. She ran a personal best 21:07 in taking third place at the Buchanan invitational Sept. 18. She also finished sixth in the SMAC West Division meet with a time of 22:16.
Brawley also won Niles' triangular meet with Buchanan and Decature earlier in the year.
Last week, Brawley finished 19th in the Berrien County meet. She was again Niles' top runner and the best local finisher in a meet dominated by Lakeshore and St. Joseph.
While Brawley said it's difficult to keep up with both sports, it hasn't slowed her down much this season. Plus, it's something she loves to do, she said.
VandenHeede said her natural ability allows Brawley to excel in cross country despite her youth and her other sport.
The Vikings' next meet comes Saturday at the Gazelle Invitational in Portage.