AUSTIN, TX — Taliyah Brooks set a personal best on her way to winning the women’s Heptathlon at the 2021 Texas Relays on Friday. Brooks tallied 6252 points on Friday for the second-best score this season behind the 6346 points total from Columbia’s Evelyn Aguilar.
Competing in her first heptathlon since winning the NCAA Championships in 2018, the former Arkansas star hit the U.S. Olympic Trials mark of 6000 points but was just short of the Tokyo Olympic qualifying standard of 6420 points.
Entering the second day with a healthy lead after setting two personal bests on Thursday’s day one, Brooks leaped another best mark of 6.66m in the long jump to extend her advantage but not before a few nervous moments after she fouled on her first two attempts.
The American over-stepped the take-off board on her first two attempts, but instead of going for a safe jump to secure the points, she went big and it paid off.
“My heart was pounding but I just trusted my training, [and] my coach,” Brooks told ESPN during her interview. “Coach [Chris] Johnson doesn’t believe in safety jumps and to do what I wanted to do a safety jump wasn’t going to do it so I just went for it. I tried to get the crowd involved and I ended up coming away with a good jump.”
For her final effort in the long jump, Brooks collected 1059 points.
Meanwhile, Texas freshman Kristine Blazevica, the Big 12 Indoor pentathlon champion in February also finished the two-day competition with a lifetime mark.
The Latvian stayed within touching distance for most of the competition before using a big javelin throw of 42.84ma and ending with 2:17.20 in the 800m to move from fourth to second place en route to finishing with a personal-best 5813 points for silver behind Brooks.
“I was really happy about my javelin, but I felt like I could’ve done so much better in the long jump,” said Blazevica, adding “so I kind of got those points back. Before the 800, I knew that I would probably PR if I ran 2:20.”
McNeese State senior Grace McKenzie of Ireland collected the bronze with a personal-best to break her own school record with 5734 points.
Meanwhile, the men’s Decathlon went to senior Asani Hylton of Stephen F. Austin and Jamaica who finished with a personal best of 7536 points.
Overnight leader Leo Neugebauer of Texas did not finish the competition after he was forced to exit the contest early. The German freshman failed to get a mark in the discus event and wasn’t able to continue.
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