Mikiah Brisco and Aleia Hobbs have been racing with and against each other for almost as long as they can remember.
Crossing paths on the track for the first time when they were about 9 years old, Brisco competed for the Greater King David Track Club of Baton Rouge; Hobbs for New Era of New Orleans.
“It was a long time ago,” a smiling Hobbs said this week. “We were about 9 when we started running against each other. Mikiah was in the hurdles and I was in the 100 meters, and sometimes we wound up meeting in the 100.”
But it didn’t start happening more until they joined forces at LSU in 2014. By then, they had carved out careers that made them arguably the two most decorated female sprinters in the history of Louisiana high school track and field.
Even then, Brisco, a Baton Rouge High graduate, was more often than not competing in the 100-meter hurdles her first three seasons. Hobbs, an Eleanor McMain grad, battled a series of knee injuries that nearly wrecked her career.
Still, 3½ years later, that duo continues to make headlines as their collegiate careers near an end.
One or the other has been right at the top of the NCAA’s performance list since the start of the season; Brisco is No. 1 with a time of 7.10 seconds and Hobbs is next at 7.12.
When they line up for the 60 meters at the NCAA Indoor championships Friday and Saturday in College Station, Texas, the LSU seniors will try to sprint to a 1-2 finish after doing so on the same track two weeks ago in the Southeastern Conference meet.
The prelims are at 6:15 p.m. Friday and the final at 4:40 p.m. Saturday.
“That’s really the plan, so we should definitely get that done,” Hobbs said of taking the top two spots. “Of course, doing that at nationals on the same team from the same state — that would be something to be part of history.”
Brisco added: “I’m not sure not about history, but that’s big considering both of us are from Louisiana. It’s great to be able to stay in state and maybe do this for our state.”
Their current ranking is not lost on Brisco, whose time of 7.08 seconds at altitude earlier this season is the second-fastest in collegiate history. She also posted a low-altitude mark of 7.10, while Hobbs’ best is 7.12.
“I feel that trying to go 1-2 is not only a goal for us, but for everybody in collegiate track,” Brisco said. “You want to be at the top with your teammates. Just being to train together, Aleia and I have a good relationship. We work hard together and both of us succeeding helps us out in the long run.”
A year ago, Hobbs won the SEC 60 title in 7.18 seconds, but Brisco earned the unofficial title of collegiate track’s fastest woman when she blazed a time of 10.96 to win the 100 at the NCAA outdoor meet in Eugene, Oregon.
That came after Hobbs cranked out a low-altitude collegiate record of 10.85 seconds in the 100 earlier in the season.
LSU coach Dennis Shaver has certainly enjoyed watching them hone their skills and get faster as their careers have progressed.
“These two women have been competing against or with each other for a while,” Shaver said. “Both of them are focused on helping each other improve their technique and execution. While they compete daily against each other, the goal is for both to improve their sprint mechanics.”
That has certainly proven to be beneficial to both.
“Training with Mikiah is always amazing, just because we know each other’s weakness and strengths,” Hobbs said. “She helps me with my weaknesses and I help with hers.”
That was one of the things that helped Brisco in the SEC final when they lined up side-by-side after posting the fastest times in the prelims.
“It was just like practice,” Brisco said. “She knew my strength would be my start. I knew her strength would be getting out well and her finish, so we just worked together throughout that race and we both ran really fast times.”
Brisco, who also has the second-fastest time in the 200 with a 22.81, was quick to point out that LSU has two other entrants in the 60. Kortnei Johnson is tied for third (7.18) and Cassondra Hall is 10th (7.23).
“If we could get the top three spots, that would be something special,” Brisco said. “If we could get all four in the final and sweep the top three, that would just be icing on the cake.”