Mikiah Brisco’s track world goes international

Advocate file  photo by CATHERINE THRELKELDBaton Rouge High's Mikiah Brisco, an LSU signee and one of the top sprinters in the country, is scheduled to run in the Grizzly Relays on Thursday at Catholic High School.
Advocate file photo by CATHERINE THRELKELDBaton Rouge High's Mikiah Brisco, an LSU signee and one of the top sprinters in the country, is scheduled to run in the Grizzly Relays on Thursday at Catholic High School.

If there was a track award up for grabs last season, the chances were that Mikiah Brisco was going to get it.

After her junior season at Baton Rouge High, Brisco made it to the highest level in July, when she competed against the rest of the world at the USA Track & Field Junior National Team in Donetsk, Ukraine.

“Ukraine was such a great experience,” Brisco said of her trip. “It was definitely something new competing in a different country, but I had a great time and I was surprised with the outcome.”

Competing in the 100 meter hurdles in Ukraine, Brisco claiming third place with a personal best of 13.29 seconds, finishing behind Team USA roommate Dior Hall (13.01) and Jamaica’s Yanique Thompson, whose 12.94 seconds finish set a junior world record.

“I expected to do well over there, but I didn’t expect to medal,” Brisco said. “That was a goal I had set for myself, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen, but I’m so happy that I did and set a personal best time.”

The success overseas was the bow on a Brisco’s year.

In her junior season at BRHS, Brisco led the Bulldogs to a 5A outdoor state title with individual wins in the 100- and 200- meter dashes and 100 hurdles, where she set a state record with a time of 13.87. She also anchored the first place 4x100 relay team.

“It felt good to win. I just did what I had to do to help the team win,” said Brisco, who has been a part of three state championship teams. “I’ve been doing that for the past couple of years, so it wasn’t really a new experience.”

The title was the fifth in a row under coach Zach Winfield, who attributes much of the credit to Brisco for the last two.

“She is team leader. Whatever the team needs she will do,” Winfield said of Brisco. “Even in events that she doesn’t run, she will still help the others on the team. She’s just a special athlete.”

The moment Winfield knew just how special Brisco was occurred during the indoor state meet.

While running the 100 hurdles, Brisco mistimed her leap on the second to last hurdle and caught her leg on the edge, leaving a deep cut.

Expecting the worst, Winfield figured Brisco would have to withdraw from her next event, the 55- meter dash. Brisco, however, made sure she would go out on her own terms, and after heavily wrapping up the cut, not only was she able to go, she ended up winning the event.

“She hit the hurdle really bad and ripped her leg up,” Winfield said.

“The fact that she would refuse to quit. That just shows determination and shows that she was thinking more of the team, because she knew we needed her to do well in that event.”

For Brisco, withdrawing was never an option.

“It was mostly adrenaline,” she said. “In my heart, I knew that I couldn’t give up, and that I just had to keep going. I still have the scar from the cut.”

Before Brisco ever hit the the track she had a pretty good pedigree.

Her mother, Pennie, ran track through high school, while her father, Leroy, ran at Southern University. Her older sister, Dominique, was a star long jumper at BRHS and is on scholarship at the University of Houston.

But despite the track background, Leroy made sure to never push his daughter into doing something that she did not want to do.

“They have to find the interest for themselves,” Leroy said about his two daughters. “Once they grab that interest and feel like they want to compete, we give them that opportunity. Seeing how well they are doing just makes me want to stick my chest out a little bit. It’s great that they are able to excel at the level that they are at.”

After dabbling in dance briefly when she was younger, the track eventually called Mikiah, and she has not looked back.

Entering her senior season, she has been in contact with many colleges, including LSU, Alabama, TCU, as well as her parents’ alma mater, Southern.

While college is on her mind, Mikiah’s main goal for now is to defend her state titles and qualify for next year’s World Juniors in Eugene, Ore.

“I’m going to need some really good times to get there, better than the ones I have now,” she said. “I just want to get better.”