Sophomore A'Lexus Brannon Q&A
Feb. 13, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- TexasSports.com sat down with sophomore long jumper A'Lexus Brannon to discuss a variety of topics including how she got involved in track and field and her childhood idol.
How and when did you get involved in track and field? I was playing jump the brook in elementary when I was seven-years old. It is a game where they set up two jump-ropes and you run from one end of the court and you jump, my coach at the time said I should try to run track. I said "no, I am a basketball star, I am going to the WNBA." She said, "no, you should really try track. I think it will take you far. You look pretty good at what you are doing." I went home and told my parents I wanted to run track and they were like "are you sure? It is pretty hard. I don't know if you will like it." I was like "Yeah, I am sure. I want to try it." The first day of track practice, I was eight-years old. It was the worst. I grew up running and playing outside but there was a difference from wanting to do something and having to do something. At practice I was running a 500, 400, 300, 200 and 100- then I was like "this is hard". It was an eye opening experience. I did not start off good. I did not get good until middle school and I had troubles with winning at big meets for mental reasons but once I got past that everyone started knowing who I was. I kept working hard and it got me to college.
How did you pick long jump? I did not fit in with the sprinters. I was fast but I was not fast enough. The 400m wasn't for me, I could run fast for a certain amount of time then I would die out. Then anything else was too long. I tried high jump, I could jump high but I could not get the technique down. Then when I was 13, I came upon the hurdles. I was good at the hurdles, I hurdled a few times here, I triple jumped, I am pretty good in that event as well. But long jump is something that has always been there. I am confident and comfortable so I will always put long jump before anything else.
How would you describe the long jump? Long jump is different from all the other events on the track. When most people think of track they think of only running events so when people ask what event I do, they are surprised to learn that long jump is a track event. Then I describe it to them as literally taking 18 steps and jump as hard as you can, they then wonder how is that hard to do. It hard because it requires a lot of training and focus specifically for power. You have to be aggressive, just like any other sprinting event though it requires a lot of technique.
How have you personalized the technique for the long jump? I copied Jackie Joyner being that she was my idol growing up. I copied her to the T growing up, but through the years differences have developed. She has a rotation of a 1 ½ and I have a 1 rotation, so it looks in between a hang and a hitch style.
Why was Jackie Joyner your idol? She was dominating. She was a heptathlete but I only focused on watching her long jump and she dominated the event. There was no one else that would jump like her as far as women. So why not copy the best?
Do you have a pre-event or pre- meet ritual? I have to take a long shower and the music has to be loud every morning before I compete. I always wear two sets of Nike socks. Some people say it makes their feet sweat, but it is something I have been doing for years.
What is the most memorable event thus far as a Longhorn? Freshman orientation. It made me realize how great of a place Texas is and how much of a blessing it is to be here. I did not understand how serious people were about being a Longhorn but now I know and I am proud to be a Longhorn also.
What are your goals for this indoor season? We go through all this hard training, but in order for me to be happy and see all that hard work pay off, I want to be the Indoor and Outdoor National Champion.
What is your motto for the season? I put my career in my parents, God, and Coach Bev's hands.
What is practice like for you? I do a lot of things. I sprint and I jump. Someone would come out to practice and not believe I am a jumper. They might think I am a sprinter because I am with the sprinters a lot doing a lot of power things and a lot of sprint work. Then they would see me in the sand.
How does this year differ from last year? I competed the whole season, last season I was hurt. It was tough coming from high school were I never had a problem competing. I never had injuries. I was always on top. It was rough mentally and physically making it through that. This year I am healthy. The fact that I am healthy and able to do a lot more feels great.
If there were to be a movie about your life, who would you want to play you? Paula Patton, she shows a lot of versatility
If you could stay a certain age forever, what age would it be? 18, it is not quite adulthood. It is between were you can still call parents when you are having problems and they have to be there. Once you are 21, you are an adult. At 18 you think you are an adult, but you really are not.
What do you miss most being away from home? Cajun food. I love Cajun food and being right on the Louisiana broader is something I really miss.
What is your favorite Austin restaurant? 24 hour dining, it is healthy but it is good. There are a lot of options on the menu. I had chicken and waffles there once. I like to find new places to eat.
What does your pre-event play list include? Variety of things but I have a whole playlist, that I call my crunk playlist. "Blessed" by school boy Q, featuring Kenrick Lamar is one on the playlist.