Whenever Rockdale's Krysten Brooks steps foot on a
The same can be said for Macy Osburn of Caldwell. Glance to the left or the right, a flash of blue will be streaking by.
Like two cleated heavyweight fighters, the two 110-meter hurdle speed demons have battled back and forth all season long and Saturday, they will block up for the last time in the biggest race of their careers at the state track meet.
Both hope to climb the winner's stand with a gold medal around her neck.
"With her out there I know I need to work harder and it makes me work harder," Brooks said. "I usually know that when I enter a race, she is the one I'm going to have to beat."
"I think it is a good thing to have someone that will push you at every meet," said Rockdale track coach Brent Hasselbach. "I think the competition made both of them better."
"It's been a challenge to have someone in the district to push her," said Brooks' father Tony, a state champion hurdler for Rockdale in the mid-80s. "If Krysten ever realized her abilities to the fullest, it wouldn't be a contest."
The 5-foot-7 Osburn easily won her home town race, but Brooks took the gold in Lexington in their next meeting.
At the Texas Relays, while Brooks sped to a new school record of 14.55 in the preliminaries, it was Osburn who turned in the better time in the finals, posting a 14.84 to finish second, while Brooks lagged behind in eighth with the worst time of her career after falling, 21.37.
At the District 24-3A meet, Osburn had the better preliminaries time at 15.33 to Brooks' 15.38, but Brooks turned the tables on her rival when it counted, grabbing the gold medal for the third straight year with a time of 15.21, just ahead of Osburn's 15.38.
At the regional meet in Humble, where you either finish first or second or go home, Osburn did something that neither had been able to do all year—win the preliminaries and the finals.
And in a close call, Brooks had to hold off Robinson's Miranda Villareal for second in the finals and a second consecutive trip to the state meet, while Osburn led the entire race with a 15.28 to Brooks' 15.60.
Brooks says that she and Osburn don't have a friendly relationship, but one built on respect for the others capabilities.
Brooks is the speedster. Osburn is the technician.
"She has way better technique than I do," Brooks said. "Her technique is really perfect. I don't have good technique and I could care less. I'm more foot speed. I sprint between the hurdles.
One last hurdle
For the state meet Saturday, Brooks drew a prime spot in lane five and while Osburn isn't rubbed up against her, she's two lanes down in three.
Brooks and Sharda Lewis are the only two hurdlers that return from the 2008 meet.
Lewis was fourth just ahead of Brooks last year.
According to Texas Track & Field, Brooks has the fastest time entering the state meet (14.55), while Lewis turned in a 14.63 at her regional meet.
Osburn would be third with her 14.7 and Brooks, Lewis and Osburn are the only three Class 3A hurdlers to crack the 15-second barrier this year.
Christina Holland of 5A Converse Judson has the best time of 13.87.
Brooks' timing is also the 10th best when you combine all five classes.
Brooks has worked on being held in the blocks for longer than usual which is the norm at the state meet. That fact threw her off in last year's meet.
"I know what to expect now," she said. "We have been working on that and using a starter's pistol."
She had been used to gathersaid. ing an advantage by getting off to a quick start, but the starter's hold at state seemed like an eternity to Brooks and she was slow to the first hurdle.
The possibility of another 1-2 Brooks-Osburn finish at the state meet?
"Just winning is all I care about," Brooks said. "I don't care who comes in second."
The Bobby Jack Factor
While Brooks has a Hornet chasing her, coincidently, so did her father 24 years ago.
Wherever Tony Brooks went, he didn't have to look far to see Caldwell's Bobby Jack Goforth who most of the time, was Brooks' equal handling the hurdles.
Goforth was indeed a Bobby Jack of all trades and he would keep that moniker when he played football for Baylor where he started at wide receiver, returned punts, returned kickoffs, held on extra points.
Unlike the cool relationship between his daughter and Osburn, Brooks and Goforth considered themselves good friends.
"We truly were friends," Brooks "He was a nice guy. It was a friendly rivalry, we had known each other since the sixth grade.
"You knew you had to do your best against him."
For t he past t wo seasons, Goforth has been the head football coach at San Antonio Jay and he remembers his confrontations with Brooks fondly.
"It makes me feel old being that it was like 25 years ago that Tony and I used to battle," Goforth said. "Not only was it great competition, but it was a great friendship and mutual admiration for each other that carried over onto the football fields at Caldwell and Rockdale, and also Baylor and TCU.
"I think most everyone else enjoyed the races more than he and I did.
"Some of the my favorite memories obviously was when I did actually beat Tony sometimes," Goforth joked. "Seems like we were about fifty-fifty against each other."
"It always was extra incentive," Brooks said. "I never worried about the times or the places, I was always concerned about Bobby Jack."
"I did extra things just for him."
"The district meet, regional meet and then state meet and even Texas Relays thrown in there made for some great races," Goforth said.
"Neither one of us did any showboating or gloating when we won," Brooks said.
"I was most proud of Tony when in our senior year he fell in the finals of the regional track meet in the 300 hurdles, got up and finished second and then went on to break the 3A state record with a 36.3," Goforth said.
And when Brooks won the 300- meter hurdles that day in 1985 with the record, Goforth was 10 steps behind in second at 37.0.
Goforth was unable to defend his 100-meter hurdles title at that meet because he finished third at regionals and did not qualify.
Brooks took advantage and easily sped to the 100-meters crown to double down.
"He was awesome that day never breaking stride and also winning the 110s," Goforth said.
Goforth did take home a gold medal after anchoring the Hornet sprint relay team to a surprising first place finish.
Goforth said: "When you see him, tell him I'll get him next time."