Kameryn Brown is no stranger to being asked if he’s on the basketball team. “I think literally every single stranger that I ever met as a child asked me that question. For a short time, the answer was yes,” Kameryn, the 6 feet 6 inches tall freshman athlete recalls.Although he was expected to thrive in a sport meant for those his height, he was unpleasantly surprised—and if you had asked Kameryn if he would be rowing at Marist College years later, he would never have believed you.
‘WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING HOW TO SWIM’—Kameryn was an active member of both the basketball and football teams in high school, but leaned towards dropping the sports when he realized he was missing the passion for the sports. However, his friends and family kept telling him that he had potential, which inspired him to dedicate more time to the basketball court thinking that one day everything would click. The passion simply could not be found on the field. According to his mother, Makeda Wilcoxson, she never had to wash his uniform. “He never got it dirty,” she said.
Kameryn Brown is a freshman Business Administration major from Dayton, Ohio. He is the oldest of six kids, and was rowing for only two years before being recruited to the Marist College Men’s Rowing team. “I was content with the fact that sports just wasn’t in the cards, and that was just fine with me. I focused my efforts on other pursuits, academics, drawing, and music.” Kameryn was spending an ordinary lunch period in high school, not realizing his life was about to change. Brone and Eric, two of his classmates, approached him to ask if he wanted to join the rowing team for practice after school. Kameryn had been learning how to work out from his father, which made his classmates notice his significant upper body strength, making him an excellent potential rower.
Without even knowing how to swim at the time, Kameryn said yes. With the help of the coaches and teammates, Kameryn learned everything about rowing and found himself feeling at home. His mother, Makeda Wilcoxson remembered, “I picked him up and he looked like he was home. He just fit right in.” Going back to Kameryn’s previous history with sports, she recalled, “He has never wanted to go to practice for any other sport, but he absolutely loved rowing. It was 6 days a week after school and he was really tired but he loved it, and he worked for it.”
Finding his "rhythm"—as he described it—in the sport of rowing was tough for Kameryn, as his height seemed to get in the way of the simple skills associated with the techniques. However, he kept working towards his goals, and unlike basketball and football, rowing definitely clicked with him. His hard work started to pay off when he started earning several first and second place medals throughout his two years of rowing in high school.
‘HASN’T BEEN WITHOUT HICCUPS’—After going on several college visits, his experience at Marist exceeded all expectations. Even when moving onto campus, Kameryn’s height caused him to bump his head into a doorway, concussing him, which led to missed practices in the beginning of the semester.
Kameryn describes the team as a charismatic and joyful team, but also very disciplined and competitive—through early mornings, significantly less free time, and required discipline and patience. The team welcomed Kameryn with open arms during his overnight visit, making him feel as if he had been on the teams for years. Since starting freshman year on the rowing team, Kameryn has been given the opportunity to participate in several highly competitive races. So far, he has earned two second place medals. “This year hasn’t been without its hiccups, but I am determined to continue to work hard, to get better, and prove that I can be the best at whatever I do.” Kameryn said. “When I’m the water racing, it feels like a whole new world.”
Kameryn is the oldest of six kids. One of the biggest challenges growing up with six other siblings in the house was having significantly less focus on him. However, the obstacles led him to a bigger lesson. “Overall, it helped me to become a more caring person and a better leader,” Kameryn said, “I am the example—I set the standard.” His mother recognized Kameryn’s obstacles growing up, “It took him a little while, but I think it definitely helped having so many younger siblings. He teaches them to laugh at himself. They miss him terribly.”
These lessons helped Kameryn become adaptable to any situation, and led him to exhibit exemplary leadership skills within his rowing team. Kameryn also spends a large portion of time volunteering at home with organizations such as Dayton Christian Center which is a childcare center in the inner city for underprivileged youths. He also dedicates his time to United Way Youth Program, which focuses on soup kitchens. His high school rowing team also gave back to the community by helping out in soup kitchens, children’s hospitals, and holding fundraisers. He recalled his parents words, “Look after the weak, and try to build them up so they can help others.”
Kameryn has never let this quote go, and continues to have big aspirations on how he will reform where he came from. “I want to start my own company to give back to the community where I grew up.” The idea of wanting to start his own company stemmed from his father and grandfather, who have both played significant roles in Kameryn’s life. His father has always been one of his biggest inspirations, teaching him to be the man he is today. “Without him, I wouldn’t even have the courage to move out [to college].” He also accredits his mother, for being there through thick and thin.
Having five younger brother and sisters helped Kameryn to develop the skills he needed to be a successful mentor for the underprivileged kids that he worked with over the summer. “It was a good learning experience to help them with some life lessons and be like an older brother,” Kameryn said. Kameryn also volunteers at his local soup kitchen and recalls seeing when “their faces flew up when they could finally eat. Not a lot of them could eat [when the soup kitchen was closed], and I saw them almost every day.” These impactful memories are what drive Kameryn to want to do more.