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Track phenom Mia Brahe-Pedersen of Lake Oswego breaks more records, sets higher goals: ‘I need to make sure I don’t stay too much in this moment of success’

“If I stay in this moment, reliving it, I won’t make any progress.”

By René Ferrán | Photo by Taylor Balkom 

Mia Brahe-Pedersen has earned herself a day of rest. 

Over the past month, the Lake Oswego rising junior has won two OSAA 6A state championships and added a Nike Outdoors National title in the 200 meters to the Nike Indoors title she won in March.

This past weekend at the U.S. Under-20 Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Brahe-Pedersen tacked on several more accomplishments — breaking the state record in the 100, becoming the second Oregon high school girl to run faster than 23 seconds in the 200, and most important, qualifying for the U-20 world championships in both events.

“I am quite tired,” Brahe-Pedersen said Sunday morning, a day after running 22.98 in the 200 final to finish second and earn her second Team USA berth.

“I’m satisfied, but I need to make sure that I don’t stay too much in this moment of success. I need to keep moving forward with my training. If I stay in this moment, reliving it, I won’t make any progress, and I only have five weeks before I leave for the world championships. I need to make sure I’m ready when I leave, so I need to make the most of the time that I have.”

Brahe-Pedersen then took a second to reflect upon everything that has occurred over the past several months.

“It’s such a crazy feeling to think that I’m just 16, and I’m already on to the next step in my career,” she said. “It feels like everything that I kind of dreamed could happen, but nothing that I expected to happen. So, every single time I achieve any of this — getting a state record, winning a national title, making the U-20 team — it’s a shock. It feels like an out-of-body experience, watching myself succeed like this, because how could I be this fast, this successful? But, then my friends and family reel me back in.

“Everything seems to be moving so fast, but I think I’m ready for it.”

Her goals entering the weekend were simple — post high enough finishes to make the relay pool for the world championships in Cali, Colombia, in early August.

She blew that goal away in short order, making the team in the 100 by finishing second in Friday’s final after running a wind-legal 11.25 in the prelims to break Margaret Johnson-Bailes’ 54-year-old state record.

“I was honestly so shocked when I looked up and saw my name in the second-place spot after the 100,” Brahe-Pedersen said. “I was like, ‘What really just happened?’ I wasn’t expecting that much.”

That feeling flowed into both her races Saturday. She ran personal bests each time, posting the fastest qualifying time of 23.02 in the prelims before coming back to come within three-hundredths of Johnson-Bailes’ state record in the final.

Brahe-Pedersen grabbed the lead in the final coming around the curve and held it until the final 20 meters, when University of South Carolina freshman Jayla Jamison surged past her to win in 22.93.

“I’m not mad about the second-place finish,” Brahe-Pedersen said. “I felt really strong the first 150, but then I started cramping up the last 20 meters, and we were running into a headwind. Not having as much training as these other girls, I’m not as strong as them yet. Running into these headwinds is something I’m working on, so it definitely won’t hold me back as much in the future.”

That future now includes a trip to South America in early August — someplace she never envisioned herself just a few weeks ago.

“I don’t really know what goals to set quite yet for worlds,” Brahe-Pedersen said. “I don’t know what to expect, what to really hope for. But I know I want to break the state record in the 200, and that’s definitely possible now that I’ve broken 23.”

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