BRITTANY Aikens was courted by some big-name cross country programs, but this Jackson County senior knew all along where she would end up running.
Aikens, who holds the Jackson County girls’ 5K record (19:15), signed an athletic scholarship with Brenau last Wednesday. Aikens chose Brenau after being looked at by Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss.
“I’m ecstatic …. I started cross country in middle school, and I’ve always wanted to go to Brenau ever since I was like eight,” Aikens said.
Aikens helped Jackson County reach the Class AAA state cross country meet in 2008 and 2009 and then helped guide Jackson County to 8-AA region title (placing second individually) this past fall and a no. 4 finish in Class AA.
Aikens now goes to a Brenau program that was two places away from sending a runner to nationals.
She had already caught the eye of the NAIA school, which is based in Gainesville, a while back.
“I’ve been following her shall we say for about a year and a half,” Brenau coach Susan McIntyre said. “What intrigues me about her is that she’s a very dedicated athlete. She wants to be the best she can be, but she wants to bring the team along to be the best they can be also. She’s not a solo-athlete. She’s a team builder.”
Aikens doesn’t have a specific goal for when she begins the fall season at Brenau but does have an objective for her collegiate career.
“I want to get in the 18:00’s by the time I’m done with college,” Aikens said.
McIntyre believes that Aikens should “easily get down in to the 18:00’s for a 5K” during her career.
McIntyre also notes the potential Aikens has next year as a freshman.
“Next year, I really feel sure that Brittany will get to nationals and hopefully will bring some other people with her and be fabulous,” McIntrye said.