Brooks excels on, off the track for UA

Posted: February 21, 2018 at 1 a.m.

In this file photo Arkansas' Taliyah Brooks attempts to clear the bar in the heptathlon high jump on the third day of the NCAA outdoor college track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., Friday, June 9, 2017.

FAYETTEVILLE -- If there's anything that Taliyah Brooks doesn't do at the University of Arkansas and for her Razorbacks track and field team then it likely can't be done.

For all that's doable, it seems she does it all.

Brooks graduates this May. Not with a bachelor's degree, the eight-time All-American and fifth-year senior in track eligibility from Wichita Falls, Texas, achieved that in communications as a three-years honors student.

In May she achieves her masters in communications with a minor in legal studies, a forerunner to law school which she plans to attend after, she hopes, competing in the 2020 Olympics, and possibly with the SEC's prestigious Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship for which she is a nominee.

Meanwhile Brooks not only writes papers but grades them.

"I teach public speaking on campus," Brooks said. "I'm in grad classes and I do track. I think I've done a pretty good job of balancing it all."

Her description is far too modest. For Coach Lance Harter's Razorbacks her "balancing it all" are the most grueling events, the indoor pentathlon, a one-day five-events in one comprising the 60-meter hurdles, shot put, long jump, high jump, and 800-meter run, and the 2-day outdoor heptathlon of the 100-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash, high jump, long jump, shot put, javelin and 800.

Individually she nationally has ranked in the open long jump, high jump and hurdles. She'll likely also do two of those and possibly run on the 4 x 400 relay as Arkansas defends its SEC Indoor championship Saturday and Sunday in College Station, Texas.

Oh, she also is president of SAAC, the UA's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

"I do a lot with that but I really enjoy it," Brooks said. "I think that's what actually makes it easier to do what I'm doing."

When do you sleep?

"I get some good Zs in," Brooks said. "I count sheep every once in a while."

Multi-events co-coaches, Chris Johnson and Bryan Compton marvel at her.

"I've coached quite a few really talented athletes who are really sharp," Johnson said. "But, yeah, I think Taliyah is special. Not just athletically and academically but she's also involved in making it a better place for young athletes. You couldn't ask for more."

Brooks can. Second in last year's NCAA Indoor pentathlon and third in the NCAA Outdoor heptathlon, Brooks vows to be a 2018 individual national champion.

But as Johnson said and Brooks concurred with the SEC Indoor looming this week: "We're not putting the cart before the horse."

Second in last year's SEC Indoor pentathlon and winning last year's SEC Outdoor heptathlon, Brooks strives to be 4 for 4 for an Arkansas team SEC Cross Country-Indoor-Outdoor triple crowns her UA competing years.

"We haven't lost SEC since I've been here," Brooks said. "So I don't want to be on the team that loses."

Towards extending Arkansas' SEC dynasty, the Razorbacks know their Miss Do-It-All will do all she can.

Sports on 02/21/2018