Good As Gold
AUSTIN—Daniel Brooks was fighting off all kinds of history on Friday.
Meet history. Site history. Family history.
The buzz around the meet was whether the Rockdale runner could pull off the impossible and claim three gold medals.
Brooks responded by racking up two medals in the three events he participated in.
The junior laid claim to being the fastest man in Class 3A by taking the gold in the 100-meter dash and was third in his speciality event, the 110-meter hurdles.
He was also sixth in the 300- meter hurdles, an event where his father Tony still holds the meet record.
“In the 110s and the 300s, there was a lot of competition,” Brooks said, “so I was really worried. I wanted to get first.
At least three. Brooks qualified for five events in the regional meet.
Brooks was also battling the clock all day in front of 17,715 track fans Friday at Mike Meyers Stadium.
He was up to the task, pocketing two medals within 17 minutes.
Brooks had the fastest qualifying times in the 100 and the 110s.
He began his day in high fashion at 6:55 p.m. in the 110-meter hurdles where he tripped at the finish line at last year’s state meet after pulling into second place, but finished sixth.
At 13.64, Lorenzo Johnson of Mineral Wells prevented Dallas Madison’s Marquis Smith from defending his crown, who was second at 13.870.
Brooks’ chief rival, Phillip Jones of West Orange-Stark, was disqualified after jumping the gun in the first start.
Jones— who Brooks bested at regionals— took advantage of Brooks stumble last year to pocket a silver.
“I got off to a good start in the 110s,” Brooks said. “If I get the ending down, I’ll be good.”
After a trip to the medal stand which includes a walk all the way across Meyers Stadium and a hike up and down lofty stairs, Brooks was back in the blocks by the 7:15 start of the 100-meter dash.
Leaning at the finish line, he clipped Quentin Darnell Butler of Corpus Christi West Oso, 10.61 to 10.60, for first place.
Butler captured a bronze medal in the event at last year’s meet.
“ That’s why I leaned,” said Brooks, who was leading at the 50-yard mark during the fastest sprint of his career. “I knew they were coming. I had to.
“Running those 110s and that 100, it wears on you. It’s hard, it’s just a mental thing. I just don’t think about it, I just do it.”
The Oklahoma-pledge is the first Tiger to win a gold medal at the state track meet since Freddie Cates in the discus in 1997.
Brooks is just the third Tiger to compete in the 100 at the state meet, along with Don Wesley off the 1977 state champion team and Jim Williams in 1965.
Wesley was third, Williams was fifth.
Brooks actually had a whole hour to rest up for the 300-meter hurdles.
As he prepared to run the race on the track, the public address announcer reminded the crowd that his father Tony, still holds the state record in the event and was of course sitting in the stands.
Son Daniel finished in sixth place with a clocking of 38.95 (his second-best time of the year), slightly slower that his father’s record time of 36.44.
“I’ll keep working next year to do even better,” Brooks said. “To do as well as I did tonight, this is the highlight of my life.”
Le’Raven Clark quickly put the disappointment of not medaling in the discus in the early hours of the meet by picking up a serendipitous bronze medal in the shot put late that afternoon.
After collecting a bronze medal in the discus at last year’s state meet, the 6-foot- 6, 280-pound Texas Tech-signee had to settle for fifth place after a toss of 160-4 (on his first throw), well below his career best of 181-feet.
Clark threw 164-3 in 2010.
Navasota weightman extrodinairre Rodney Brown easily defended his crown with a measurement of 182-7, over 11 feet better than second place Nathan Griffin of Longview Spring Hill.
After a six hour break, Clark went to work in the shot put where he reached the state meet as one of the UIL’s new wildcard entries.
Along with the eight qualifiers from the four regions, the UIL now includes a ninth entry culled from the best of the remaining efforts who did not qualify.
Clark made the most of his ex tra chance and grabbed a bronze in the shot with an effort of 51-10 1/2, the second best throw of his career and third of the day.
“I came to compete,” Clark said. “I had higher expectations in the discus. My expectations weren’t very high for the shot put, but I figured I could come compete and try to do my best.”
Clark finished behind defending state champion Jordan Roos of Celina who outdistanced second place and Texas-bound Cedric Reed of Cleveland by almost seven feet.
Rockdale’s third participant, Jacob Gerren finished eighth in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:43.07.
The senior sprinted out to the first lap lead by as much as 25 yards in front of the formidable group, but succumbed to winner Paul Hansel of Cuero’s time of 4:20.37.
“I thought Daniel, LaRaven, and Jacob did a great job of representing the communit y of Rockdale at the state track meet,” said Rockdale track coach Jim Kerbow. “I am very proud of Le’Raven and Daniel staying focused throughout the meet.
“ I am ver y proud of those three kids and I wish Jacob and LaRaven well in their college careers. I have no doubt they will be successful. I am looking forward to having Daniel for one more year.”
THE BROOKS GO TO AUSTIN
1982—Dennis Brooks, 2nd in 110- meter hurdles 1984—Tony Brooks, 1st in 300- meter hurdles 1985—Tony Brooks, 1st in 110- meter hurdles and 300- meter hurdles 1986—Donny Brooks, 3rd in 110- meter hurdles 1987—Donny Brooks, 1st in 110- meter hurdles 1988—Donny Brooks, 1st in 110- meter hurdles 2008—Krysten Brooks, 5th in 100- meter hurdles 2009—Krysten Brooks, 7th in 100- meter hurdles 2010—Daniel Brooks, 6th in 110- meter hurdles
*Note: Terry Brooks just missed out on going to state in 1983 by finishing third in the 110-meter hurdles at regionals by one-one hundreth of a second.