LaKya Brookins Makes History With SEC 60m Title
Feb. 27, 2011
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By Miquel Jacobs
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - History was made numerous times during the final day of competition at the SEC Indoor Championships with one of the most glaring coming in the 60-meter dash when South Carolina senior Lakya Brookins became the first back-to-back title winner in conference history. Brookins blazed through the finish line with a time of 7.14, the third-fastest time in the world this year, to cement her legacy as one of the top sprinters in SEC history.
"It feels so good," Brookins said of the history. "There's not enough words to explain how it feels, especially winning it two years in a row. I've worked so hard for this all year. It fells really good to know that I've accomplished something and made history today. I couldn't have done it without my coaches and teammates pushing me."
For the third consecutive year, the Gamecock senior trio of Brookins, Gabrielle Glenn and Shayla Mahan qualified for the 60-meter final. Brookins claimed the title for the second straight season while Glenn took sixth for the second straight year with a time of 7.361. Mahan took seventh just thousandths of a second later at 7.366 to give the Gamecocks 15 points, a single-season best in the event in the storied Gamecock history books.
"We were very excited yesterday (about all three qualifying)," Brookins said. "It's a moment we were all waiting for. We were stacked in the same heat and went one, two and three. Even today they put in a good fight and did everything they could like I did. I just ran for my teammates, myself and my family, but more for my teammates that didn't make it this far or have as good of a day as they would have hoped. I'm very proud of Shayla and Gabby."
In the high jump pit, more history was made in the way of a school record as sophomore David Wilkins cleared a South Carolina indoor best 7'2 ¼ (2.19m) to claim silver medal honors. Not only was it a school record clearance, it also marks the first time that a Gamecock medaled in the high jump at the SEC Indoor meet with Wilkins being the first scorer since Fred Townsend took seventh in 2003.
"I was real excited coming in," Wilkins said. "I tried to keep myself intact because in practice we changed my step and my practice went phenomenal. It was the best I've jumped in practice so I was already looking to PR. I told my coach I wanted to battle Ricky Robertson who won first place. I feel like I put up a good fight because if I make it to nationals I feel there's no place to go but up."
Elsewhere, senior Michael Zajac made a bit of South Carolina history of his own in a big way. The redshirt senior earned bronze medal honors in the weight throw at 68'10 ½ (20.99m), becoming the first Gamecock to ever medal three times in the weight throw at the SEC indoor meet. Zajac took silver in 2009 and 2010, putting him in alone in a history that includes Bert Sorin, John Stoikos, Kevin Mannon, Ron Willis and Ryan Harrison. Coupled with his fourth-place finish as a freshman in 2008, Zajac now joins Sorin as the only two Gamecocks to score in the weight throw in all four of their seasons.
"It's nice to be able to contribute," Zajac said. "I would have liked a little more, but history is history so I'll take that. Just to be mentioned with Bert Sorin, he's one of my mentors, so it means a lot. It's been a good run. I'm just looking forward to more."
The women's 60-meter hurdles saw Kierre Beckles and Janica Austin place fourth and fifth, respectively. Beckles ran 8.30 in the final while Austin ran 8.33, her third straight year scoring in the event. The nine points are the most in the event since the 2002 season when Lashinda Demus, Tiffany Ross-Williams and Shevon Stoddart took second, fifth, and sixth overall.
Coach Lawrence Johnson's women's pole vaulters had quite the day as well with a duo of freshmen collecting eight points total for the women's team. Petra Olsen earned SEC All-Freshman honors by placing fourth overall at a collegiate best 13'3 ½ (4.05m), a mark that ranks No. 3 in Gamecock indoor history. Classmate Angie Rummans placed sixth overall at a collegiate best 12'11 ½ (3.95m), giving the Gamecocks two pole vault scorers for just the third time in school history - the last time coming in 2001. The fourth place finish by Olsen ties the school record for the top freshman finish that was set in 1998 by Kylene Nixon who also placed fourth as a freshman. Junior Allie Nicosia just missed scoring after placing ninth overall at 12'5 ½ (3.80m), a season best.
Less than two hours after scoring in the 60-meter final, Mahan and Glenn placed fifth and sixth in the 200-meter dash final. Both seniors ran indoor career bests as Mahan crossed at 23.56 and Glenn crossed at 23.62 to pick up three points in the event. It was the first time since 2007 that the Gamecocks scored in the 200-meter dash finals.
Sophomore Breanna Radford threw a huge PR in the shot put to place fifth overall, and she combined with Stacee Roberts to give Carolina two shot put scorers for the first time in 10 years. Radford tossed 48'6 ¼ (14.79m) to claim her spot while Roberts tossed 47'3 (14.40m) to take sixth overall. Junior Katie Vuckovich took ninth at 45'11 ¼ (14.00m).
The women's distance medley relay team of Liz Locke, Amber Allen, Sierra Henderson and Beatrice Biwott claimed sixth at 11:46.13 to score, the top finish for the DMR since the 2005 team claimed silver. The men's distance medley relay team of Alex Bermudez, Chris Royster, Drew Ricci and Robert Razick took ninth overall at 10:37.33.
In the 4x400-meter relays, the men's team of Clayton Gravesande, Andre Carter, Antonio Sales and Aaron Anderson placed seventh at 3:10.85, a season best for the quartet. The women's team of Sanura Eley-O'Reilly, Kierre Beckles, Janica Austin and Kelsey McCorkle ran a season best 3:36.99 to place seventh.
Lincoln Carr placed ninth overall in the men's triple jump with a top mark of 50'4 ¾ (15.36m). In the women's triple jump, Radiance Basden took 12th at 39'11 ½ (12.18m) and Ceci Kryst took 15th at 38'4 ¼ (11.69m).
In the overall team standings, the Gamecock women placed seventh with 51 points and the South Carolina men placed eighth with 26 points.
The Gamecocks will travel to NCAA Last Chance Meets at Iowa State and Virginia Tech next weekend before bids are announced for the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships that will be held at Texas A&M from March 11-12.