Sometimes the best-laid plans don’t always work out.
Then again, sometimes they do.
In the case of LSU sophomore sprinter/hurdler Mikiah Brisco, the plan laid out for her by coach Dennis Shaver two years ago is working just fine.
Winning the 60-meter hurdles title and doubling back to take the 60 meters at the Southeastern Conference championships two weeks ago — the first time a female swept those events since 1992 — proved that.
“It’s worked out,” Shaver said, “maybe better than we even planned.”
When Brisco arrived as a freshman from Baton Rouge High, the plan was to concentrate on her sprint mechanics and get used to weight training while making the transition to college.
The hurdles would be there when she was ready, Shaver said.
“We wanted Mikiah to be really good at one thing rather than maybe not being as good at either thing,” he said.
After earning All-America status in her first indoor season with a fifth-place finish in the 60 meters and the outdoor season, when she ran on the Lady Tigers’ fifth-place 4x100-meter relay team, Brisco was ready.
After training for both events last fall, Brisco alternated the 60 meters with the hurdles in indoor meets this season. The plan then came to fruition at the SEC championships.
She won the 60 hurdles with a personal-record time of 8.05 seconds, leading teammate Daeshon Gordon (8.10) to the finish line, then returned 20 minutes later to take the 60 meters in 7.18 seconds — posting another PR.
In that one, Brisco lined up and dusted Florida’s Shayla Sanders, who went into the meet with the fastest time in the nation at 7.17 seconds.
While the twin wins helped Brisco earn the SEC women’s indoor runner of the year in a vote of the league’s coaches, it’s long been put in her rearview mirror with the NCAA indoors coming up this weekend.
“At first, it didn’t sink in ... I didn’t realize what I did,” said Brisco, who laughed when reminded that she wasn’t even born when Florida’s Michelle Freeman pulled off the last sprint-hurdles double in 1992. “It’s over with now. My mom said to enjoy it for 24 hours and then focus on the next thing.”
The next thing are nationals Friday and Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama. Brisco leads No. 10 LSU into the meet with the second-fastest time in the nation in the 60 and fourth-fastest time in the hurdles.
Shaver couldn’t have envisioned her doing that a year ago, when Brisco was a wide-eyed freshman — even though she was one of the most decorated athletes in Louisiana prep track history.
“Mikiah has just made a lot of technical improvements over this indoor season,” Shaver noted. “She’s a little more powerful now and a little lighter, and the positive impact she’s had as a sprinter has helped her hurdle better.”
Brisco said of her first season: “I understood coach Shaver wanted the best for me. The focus was to run with the proper technique. It was a good move.”
Shaver had a pretty good idea of how things were going to go when he told Brisco at the end of the outdoor season last June that he was going add another event to her plate whey they started training in the fall.
While it was welcomed news, Brisco knew that Shaver knew was he was doing when he limited her to the sprints and relay.
The only question: Would her secondary event be the 200 meters or hurdles?
Brisco preferred the hurdles because it’s a shorter race — and because she felt a lot stronger and was more explosive after a whole year in LSU’s weight training program.
The rest is SEC history.
Before she begins prepping for the outdoor season and the switch to the open 100 and 100-meter hurdles, there is one bit of unfinished business at nationals.
“Right now, I’m feeling good ... I’m confident, but I know there are some things to work on,” Brisco said at the beginning of the week. “I just have work on some small things, and execute on race day and run a good race.”
That’s the plan.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.