Brittley Humphrey Carries Family Tradition Well
By Lee Davis
Brittley Humphrey comes from an athletic family. Her father, Bobby, was an All-American running back at the University of Alabama in the 1980s. Her brother, Marlon, presently plays football for the Crimson Tide.
But the spark that made Brittley Humphrey a champion had comparatively little to do with family ties.
“I was going to Gwin Elementary School, and we did a lot of running,” she said. “Everyone always said the boys could outrun the girls. I didn’t like that. I wanted to show that girls could run, too.”
In the years that followed, Brittley Humphrey has lived up to her promise. Now a junior at Hoover High School, Humphrey has become one of the state’s best runners and hurdlers in both indoor and outdoor track – and she’s a pretty good basketball player, too. Humphrey presently holds the state indoor record for the 60-meter hurdles and the state outdoor record for the 300-meter low hurdles and 100-meter high hurdles.
“In our family, everyone does sports, and I guess track and field is the one l like best,” she said.
Humphrey repeated as the 60-meter hurdles champion at last week’s state meet at the Birmingham Crossplex. Understandably, she considers the event to be one of her favorites.
“I like the indoor track because you can see your time quickly and share it with your teammates,” Humphrey said. “The other great thing about the indoor meet is that you don’t have to run in the cold weather.”
Humphrey also excels in the relay events and the 400-meter dash and said there isn’t much difference in training for indoor as opposed to outdoor events.
“There are some differences, but pretty much it’s about the same,” she said. “Running and jumping is still running and jumping.”
Humphrey also hoped to bring another team championship trophy to the Lady Bucs – and set more state marks.
“It’s important to break my records not because I want to show off but because I want to keep improving,” she said. “Just going out and winning again isn’t enough if I’m not getting better.”
Early February is a particularly busy time of the year for Humphrey. In addition to competing in the state indoor meet, she and the Lady Bucs basketball team are preparing for the postseason. Humphrey’s day usually begins with a workout at the school around 6:30 a.m.
“It’s a lot going on, but since I live close to the school I don’t have to get up as early as some of the girls do,” she said, laughing.
As might be expected from someone coming from an athletic family, Humphrey said she is always on the receiving end of coaching and advice.
“Everybody’s got an opinion,” she said. “And most of the time it’s good advice. My family just wants what’s best for me, and I appreciate it.”
Unlike some runners, Humphrey said she is not particularly superstitious before running a big event.
“When I started in ninth grade, I had this ritual of talking to one of my coaches for good luck,” she said. “Then once I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to him, and I still ran a good race. From then on, I realized success was all about performance and preparation, not rituals.”
Humphrey said she enjoys being a track/basketball athlete at Hoover. She also understands where her future is likely to belong.
My goal is to run track in college,” she said. “Basketball is great, but I think my greatest strengths are in track and field.”
While Humphrey’s achievements on the track are remarkable enough on their own merit, people can’t help noticing her unusual first name.
“When I was born, my mother had a favorite character on a television show named ‘Whitley,’” Humphrey said. “The doctor said, ‘You can’t name her that – name her Brittley’. My mom liked the sound of it, and that’s how I got my name.”
The name may be unusual – but it does have advantages. There aren’t too many other Brittleys out there.
“One thing about it – when someone calls ‘Brittley’ I know they are talking to me,” she said.
And when someone says “champion,” Brittley Humphrey is often the subject as well.