Athlete of the week: Josie Brown, Elk River, hockey: Spikes & blades

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Josie Brown is seldom a headliner athlete, but this versatile, forceful Elk River senior is a three-sport letterwinner since ninth grade and has gone to state six times so far, two in each sport. Her strength, speed and tenacity make a big impact in hockey and soccer especially.

The 5-foot-8 winger has started her senior hockey season strong with three goals and two assists in six games, helping the No. 7 ranked Elks start 5-0-1.

Josie Brown, a three-sport letterwinner since ninth grade, hopes to make her seventh state trip at the conclusion of the hockey season. (Photo by Bob Burley)

“We have a lot of good players back, and a lot of young talent stepping up,” she said. “We’re definitely hoping to get to state again.”

Brown picked her sports early, soccer in kindergarten and hockey in first grade, and stuck with them ever since, adding track in ninth grade.

Most of her career highlights –  again, so far – came her junior year, when she made state trips in all three sports. The soccer team won section finals in overtime over STMA  when Brown made a perfect corner kick that Kelsey Daulton headed into the net. The hockey season ended with Brown scoring the game-winner in the state fifth-place game vs. Lakeville South. As a sprinter she helped the Elk track team win true-team sectionals and place sixth at state.

“We had a great group of seniors in both soccer and hockey and it was so great to help them end that way,” said Brown, hoping to conclude her own senior campaign in March on another high note.

Brown had seven goals and 13 assists last year, centering the second line with Cassi Schreckenghaust and Abby Kratzke. This year she’s on first line with Chelsey Petrich and scoring machine Jonna Curtis.

“Last year I’d be out on the wing getting the puck to Cassi at the net, and this year, same thing, except it’s Jonna.”

Coach Joe Heasley likes all the tools Brown has. “Josie is very strong. It’s tough to take her off the puck. She is fast and moves the puck well. We moved her to wing on the first line so she can help Jonna, and she should be able to do more scoring herself.”

The Elks are  65-25-6 during her four years including 3-3 in two state trips, placing fourth in 2009 and fifth in 2011. Her sophomore year they were 22-3-3  but lost in the section finals.

In soccer the Elks had just one winning season in her tenure (13-8 her junior year) but made state trips twice. She was all-conference this year, and got honorable mention in soccer and hockey as a junior.

“What I like about Josie is she works extremely hard and she is very versatile,” said coach Brian Steuter, who has deployed her at outside mid, then center defender two years, then center mid.

“Goal-scoring was never her job, although she’s capable of that, too. We had her at forward against Tech and she got a goal. We needed her to defend a lot, and to win the ball at midfield and start our offense up. She is extremely strong. When the ball’s at her feet, it takes two or three players to take it from her.”

In track, Brown runs the 100 and 200 dashes. She’s not a standout there but loves to compete year-round.

The last of three sisters to play soccer for the Elks,  she will continue in that sport  at Wayne State in Nebraska. “I have had great experiences in both soccer and hockey so it was really hard to choose,” said Brown.



Josie Brown

Personal file – Age: 18 … Family: parents, Kelly and Colette; sisters, Jess, 24, and Ali, 22 … Sports: soccer, hockey, track … Other activities: DECA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes … Academics: 3.66 GPA … College plans: Wayne State, soccer, business

Favorite stuff – Class: school store, history … Movie: “Pride and Prejudice” … Reading: teen novels like “Twilight” series … Team: Wild, Portugal men’s soccer … Athlete: Lionel Messi … Food: Chipotle fare, especially chicken bowls … Drink: sweet tea Kickback: fishing, relax at cabin … Place she’d like to visit: tour Europe