From never having hurdled before to meeting champions, that’s the quick trip for Piscataway’s Brook’Lyn Drakeford.
After clearing no hurdles until last spring, Drakeford won the girls’ 400-meter hurdles in 1:01.94 at the 2022 NJSIAA Champions Meet on Saturday at Franklin High School in Somerset.
Drakeford also helped Piscataway’s 4x400m relay team to gold in the final race of the day. Piscataway now has six M of C golds away from the girls side.
“I started taking it pretty seriously this year and got pretty far with it,” the junior said. “I was competing in the open sprint events and my coaches thought I would do well. I had never thought of doing it before. It just adds an extra challenge. It was great to see my form progress when I started until now.
These advancements have helped Drakeford get to where it is today. She was close to her personal best of 101.73 which she ran at the North Jersey Section 2 Group 4 meet.
“It obviously wasn’t a particular goal when I started, but this season I saw my progression and my rankings and thought I would have the ability,” Drakeford said. “Since last season, I’ve lost 10 seconds of time.”
Miriam Okwudibonye of Ewing was second in 1:02.15 while Kylie Jacoutot of Colts Neck was third in 1:03.58.
Drakeford pulled away in the final 50 yards or so.
“I was kind of listening to my surroundings and I hear it coming towards me,” Drakeford said. “I was able to push that last bit and secure the win.”
The wind was strong at the M of C, but Drakeford was not too bothered by it. She did well on our starting blocks and then went through the gusts and almost had PR anyway.
“I felt pretty good coming off the blocks,” Drakeford said. “As soon as I crossed the first corner, I felt the wind. I had to overcome and overcome that. I came out of it pretty well and was happy with the way I handled it. It was like ‘Woosh’! It catches you off guard, but I’ve done winning workouts before. It affected me a bit, but I still ran a good time. I almost got a PR.
Drakeford likes to do his open sprint races in addition to hurdles. It was different from getting used to jumping over hurdles. But she excelled at it. She studied Olympic champion and world record holder Sydney McLaughlin, a four-time M of C winner, as well as last year’s 400m hurdles champion, Adelaide Asante of North Brunswick.
“When I started there was this mental block with the obstacles, but I got past that,” she said. “It’s fun now and it’s a unique experience.”
Drakeford was the favorite as she had the state’s No. 2 time heading into the race. Despite the pressure, she was confident and ready to go.
“I wasn’t really nervous,” Drakeford said. “I learned to have fun in all my races and to be confident. I felt good. It was one of my big goals and I really wanted to win. »
GIRL’S 400 METERS HURDLES
1-Brook’Lyn Drakeford, Piscataway, 1:01.94.
2-Miriam Okwudiboynye, Ewing, 1:01.15
3-Kyle Jacoutot, Foal Neck, 1:03.58.
4-Keira Phillips, Middle Township, 1:03.95.
5-Chloe Smith, East Brunswick, 1:04.08.
6-Alison Cooke, Cherokee, 1:04.09.
7-Aaliyah Murphy, Morristown, 1:04.12.
8-Sanai Jenkins, Rancocas Valley, 1:04.34.
9-Alexandria Scott, St. John Vianney, 1:04.81.
10-Anna Bryn-Jones, Northern Highlands, 1:04.97.
11-Molly Bennett, Northern Highlands, 1:05.08.
12-Kylie Prendergast, Livingston, 1:06.25.
13-Danya Spoor, Oak Knoll, 1:06.99.
14-Hayley Brookes, Morris Knolls, 1:07.23.
15-Isabella Alvarez-Gomez, Cranford, 1:07.75.
16-Amanda Hoffman, Parsippany Hills, 1:07.85.
17-Ava Brancatella, Villa Walsh, 1:09.58.
18-Fiona Drew, St. John Vianney, 1:09.96.
19-Amanda Galasso, Mount St. Dominic, 1:12.28.
20-Carmelle Alexis, Hillside, 1:13.92.
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