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June 10, 2011

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By Miquel Jacobs
Media Relations Assistant

LaKya Brookins

DES MOINES, Iowa – After braving a one-hour weather delay, South Carolina senior LaKya Brookins hit the track Friday night at rain-soaked Drake Stadium and came away with a sixth-place finish in the 100-meter dash finals to conclude her Gamecock career at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

A two-time indoor national champion in the 60-meter dash, Brookins was competing in her first healthy attempt at an individual outdoor national title. She missed the 2008 and 2010 outdoor postseasons due to injury, and battled at nationals as a sophomore in 2009 with another injury but was determined to score points for the Gamecocks as a senior, crossing the line at a time of 11.23 to put the first points on the board for the Gamecock women’s team this weekend.

“It felt good to be able to run out there,” Brookins said. “It was my first individual NCAA race (outdoors). Honestly I was just happy to be out there. Everything didn’t go quite the way I expected it to with the rain delay and everything. I did the best that I could, but obviously it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s just not my time right now. I’m just going to keep working and hope everything gets better.”

Originally scheduled to be run at 7:55 p.m. (ET) in front of a live television audience on CBS College Sports, the meet was delayed due to a lightning strike 10 miles from the track in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, the second consecutive day that weather suspended competition at Drake Stadium. Brookins moved inside the Drake Knapp Center to stay loose during the break before action resumed exactly one hour later than scheduled.

“I just breathed a lot and kept my body moving,” Brookins said. “I wish we would have run on time, but everything happens for a reason. Honestly I can’t complain. I’ve worked hard all year and had a great season. Sixth wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I’m just glad that I got here and got what I wanted. Not that many people can say they’ve had the season I’ve had, so I’m very grateful.”

The race ends a fantastic career for the Gamecock from Seneca High School. She swept USTFCCCA Southeast Region Runner of the Year honors after her record-breaking indoor and outdoor seasons. She won the NCAA indoor title in the 60-meter dash at a collegiate record time of 7.09, ending the indoor season as the “world’s fastest woman” in addition to the distinction of being the first back-to-back 60-meter dash champion in SEC history.

Her outdoor season was just as successful with a school-record time of 11.02 in the 100-meter dash set in her silver medal finish at the SEC Outdoor Championships. Her time entering the week ranked fifth in the world under all conditions. She qualified for nationals both individually and as a member of the 4×100-meter relay. Up next for Brookins will be the USA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., from June 22-26.

In an event that was originally scheduled to be run before Thursday night’s weather delay, the men’s 4×400-meter relay team of Clayton Gravesande, Andre Carter, Aaron Anderson and Chris Maxwell ran 3:07.91 to take 14th overall in the semifinals. Also, the women’s 4×400-meter relay team officially placed 18th overall after the final heat was concluded early Friday morning. Yesterday’s quartet of Sanura Eley-O’Reilly, Vashti Bandy, Janica Austin and Amber Allen ran a season best time of 3:36.57.

Saturday marks the final day of competition at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, and Gamecock junior Kierre Beckles will compete for the 100-meter hurdle title at 2:09 p.m. (ET). The meet will broadcast live on CBS from 1-3 p.m.

W-100m Final
6. Lakya Brookins 11.23
M-4x400m Semifinal
14. Gravesande, Carter, Anderson, Maxwell 3:07.91