The court has appeal
By Bryan Bonato Special to The News-Sun February 5, 2013 3:40PM
GURNEE Sunday Feb 3 2013 Warren High School student Britney Ellis is playing basketball this season instead of participating in indoor track, despite her success as a runner. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
HIGH SCHOOL TRACK RECORDS
GIRLS 400-METER DASH
National mark — 50.74 by Monique Henderson (Samuel Morse High in San Diego), 2000
Illinois mark — 52.63 by Alexandria Anderson (Morgan Park High in Chicago), 2005
Brittny Ellis at state as a freshman — 1st in 54.08
GIRLS 200 METER DASH
National mark — 22.52 by Allyson Felix (Baptist High in Los Angeles), 2003
State mark — 23.32 by Alexandria Anderson (Morgan Park in Chicago), 2005
Brittny Ellis at state as a freshman — 6th in 24.88
BRITTNY ON HER YOUNGER BROTHER
Brandon Ellis is 13 years old and attends Viking Middle School in Gurnee. Here’s what Brittny said him.
“He runs too, but basketball is his thing. So he’s like the opposite of me.
“We play against each other, but he usually beats me. He has a way better shot than I do.”
LAST YEAR AT WARREN
State champ in 400
6th at state in 200. Only one non-senior beat Ellis in the state finals
400 relay team finished 9th at state and three runners return
Won the 400 and 200 at the Lake County and North Suburban Conference meets. Also won the 100 at the NSC meet.
Updated: March 7, 2013 6:28AM
You have to wonder how many centers, when they line up for the opening tip of a sophomore girls basketball game against Warren, realize who the other player is in the center-jump circle.
At 5-10, Brittny Ellis certainly doesn’t stand out in a basketball crowd.
And while she’s got serious game, so do her teammates, which is why the Blue Devils’ sophomore team took a 20-4 record into Tuesday’s game against Grant.
It isn’t until you see her run the floor that you realize this is not just some talented sophomore basketball player.
Because when it comes to running, nobody does it faster than Brittny.
Last year as a freshman, she won the state title in the 400-meter dash at the IHSA track finals, and also finished sixth in the 200 dash.
In other words, nobody beats Brittny Ellis down the court.
The amazing thing about the star track athlete is that she plays basketball at all.
Clearly, her future in terms of a college scholarship in track.
Yet, she’s not going to give up playing the roundball sport every winter. She played in eighth grade at Viking Middle School in Gurnee and played last year for Warren’s freshman team.
“I’ve always liked basketball,” she explained. “Playing center has some interesting advantages and disadvantages. Most of the girls I match up against are bigger than me, but I’m faster than them, so it makes for a fun game.”
The big issue with an elite athlete, of course, is injuries. Basketball is a physical game.
“A lot of people point that out. I take a lot of preventative measures. I wear ankle braces on both legs, and I stretch very well before I play,” she said.
The one disadvantage Brittny has on the court is experience.
While other girls are playing AAU hoops in the spring and summer, she is running track.
“I’m running all summer while other girls are playing basketball, so they have a big edge in experience, but it’s still really fun,” she said.
She also doesn’t worry about not being ready for the start of track season.
“I was never really worried I wouldn’t be ready for track. I play the majority of the game, and there’s a lot of running up and down.
“I’m also training with my parents and little brother, Brandon (age 13).”
Her basketball coach at Warren this year is Ryan Skidmore.
“She’s wonderful to have around. She’s a team player, and her athleticism is out of this world,” he said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the rest of the girls to play with her and learn from her.
“We’re having a good year. We won the division and have a chance to win the conference against Grant on Tuesday.”
With basketball ending this week, it’s literally taking off the basketball shoes and putting on the running shoes for Brittny.
“After basketball ends, it’s right into track. There’s no break. I’m really excited for the season. Conference, state, I’m excited for all of it.”
That excitement literally will start on Saturday when she competes at the AAU Northern Indoor Track & Field Championships at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.
After that, it’s the indoor track season for the Warren Blue Devils.
The first prep meet is the Buffalo Grove Indoor Invitational on March 7.
“I’d like to beat all the PRs I set last year,” she said.
Ready. Set. Go!