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Q&A: Brooks Gives Insight on Track Life

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Taliyah Brooks

Junior Taliyah Brooks competes in the long jump Jan. 13. Brooks set a new school record with a jump of 6.44 meters.

With the Razorback track and field team wrapping up its indoor season with the Southeastern Conference championships ahead, redshirt-junior Taliyah Brooks will look to add to her growing resume with more top-5 finishes in the multi events.

Multi-event athletes run various events in a meet, including 60-meter hurdles, long jump, high jump, 800-meter run, javelin throw and shot put.

Brooks has racked up multiple awards, including a bronze medal in the long jump in the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships and a second-place finish in the pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships last season. She is also a six-time All-American and set the Arkansas record in the long jump with a distance of almost 21 feet.

The Arkansas Traveler caught up with her at the Randal Tyson Track Center to talk about her life on and off the track.

Besides running track, what is your favorite thing to do?

“I watch a lot of TV. It sounds pretty lazy but I have 10 TV shows I watch, like ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ and ‘Prison Break.’ I could go on and on, but my favorite show is probably ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ because something is always happening, and you never can guess what’s going to happen next. I’m a typical girl so I like to go shopping, too, and I also like reading books.”

What are your plans after you graduate from Arkansas?

“I still have one more year of eligibility so I’m going to do that, and I’ll also graduate grad school next year, too. I plan on running track until at least 2020 and the next Olympic trials in the multi events. Once that happens, I’ll reevaluate my life and see if I still want run track or go out and get a job. I hope to stick around athletics, like in the business part of it.”

What made you choose to do the multi events in track?

“When I was little I did the high jump, the long jump and the 800-meter run, and someone told my parents, ‘Oh y’all should try the multi events.’ We had no idea what it was, and so I had to learn how to hurdle. It took forever to learn how to hurdle. I started to do the multi events, and I was really good at it so it just took off from there.”

What keeps you going everyday?

“My family. There’s a lot of us back home; I have younger sisters and a brother I know look up to me, and I know my parents worked hard all my life to get me where I am now. I just want to make my family happy and do what I can for them. They come up up lot, but they haven’t been as much this year because I haven’t been competing as much because I was hurt. But if my mom isn’t here, my dad is here, and if my dad isn’t here, my mom is. They come to pretty much all the home meets, they’re always at nationals, my dad will be at conference and nationals are in Texas, so my whole family will be there.”

When you’re competing, what do you think about?

“I just try to stay positive. Like if I’m not doing well in the high jump, I just keep myself up and tell myself I can do it. If I’m running hurdles, I tell the hurdles, ‘Hurdles, you’re mine today.’ I just try to say positive words and keep myself up.”

What do you want your legacy to be at Arkansas when you leave?

“I want to be remembered more than just for track. I hope I’m remembered as a good person and kind and giving – more than just a typical athlete. I don’t want people to think I’m nothing outside of the track. I want to be remembered for athletics, obviously, but also outside of the track for good things I’ve done or ways I’ve helped people.”

What’s on you pre-meet playlist?

“Oh, there’s some Future on there, some 21 Savage, Migos and Drake. No slow Drake though. I can’t have him putting me in my feels before I run hurdles.”

 

Alex Nicoll was the editor-in-chief of the Arkansas Traveler from 2017-2019. Before that, Alex was a sport designer, and he wrote stories for the news, lifestyles and sports sections.

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