Another generation of Brown and Barrett runners 6.13

Written by David Green.

Thirty-one years ago, Morenci students Pam (Brown) Clifford and Jill (Barrett) Brown helped the Bulldogs win a state championship in girls track.

Earlier this month, it was their daughters’ turn to win medals at the state meet.

The women both reside in the East Grand Rapids school district and their daughters teamed up to win the Div. II 3200-meter relay race.

Jill’s daughter Nikki is a 2007 graduate. Randi Brown and Brianna Clifford recently finished their freshman year.

The girls didn’t just win a state championship; they also set a new school record of 9:29.

School records are nothing new for the two mothers. They set numerous records when they ran for Morenci.

Before you say anything about track being fairly new as a girls sport in 1976, and of course records were being set left and right, consider this: Pam Brown’s name is still in the Morenci record book for three events and Jill Barrett still appears twice. Those were records for the ages.

Pam’s school-record 5-foot-7 high jump at the state tournament is the event that gave Morenci the championship—it’s the only girls track title in more than 30 years.

In an interview in the Grand Rapids Press, the mothers were asked if they’ve put any pressure on their daughters to carry on the tradition.

“Not at all,” Pam said. “It’s been fun to see them take it up.”

Jill added that her parents, Jim and Pat Barrett, get a kick out of watching their granddaughters on the track.

“They say it’s just like when Pam and I were running.”

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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