Briscoe peaks at the right time at Olympic Trials
July 1, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. -- Given that Shanay Briscoe ended her 2012 competitive season with two personal bests, a runner-up finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and a fourth-place finish at the Olympic Trials, it's difficult to imagine that this was not the way she envisioned her year going.
"The entire year had been pretty rocky for me," Briscoe said. "There was one time during the Indoor season where I wasn't even thinking about making it to the Olympics. I was just trying to figure out how I was going to make it to Indoor Nationals. But peaking at NCAA Outdoors definitely gave me a lot more confidence, because I fully believed after that performance I had a chance at making the Olympic team."
Briscoe capped off her sophomore campaign at Texas with a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials on Saturday. She cleared 1.92m (6-03.50) on her third attempt, marking her best clearance in her high jumping career. That jump came only weeks after establishing a then-career best mark of 1.90m to place second at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
"I am so happy that I was able to get a PR," Briscoe said. "Even though I didn't make the team, I got a lifetime best. I hadn't even jumped that in practice, so to be able to jump that high is a really great accomplishment for me."
Briscoe fed off an enthusiastic Hayward Field crowd that actively participated in spurring the high jump finalists on throughout Saturday's final round. National and international visitors as well as the city of Eugene, a town recognized widely as "TrackTown USA," came out in record numbers, despite several days of heavy rain, to get behind athletes vying for a coveted spot on the Olympic Team.
"The crowd in Eugene was amazing," Briscoe said. "Just to have people so into watching the event kind of heightened the experience for me. After I made 1.92m, I was happy for myself. But the fact that the crowd was so loud and cheering made me feel even better about making it. I loved it."
At just 19 years old, she has already competed on the Olympic Trials stage twice. Briscoe had the benefit of competing in the 2008 Trials as a 15-year-old high school sophomore and was able to use that experience to manage her nerves at the charged atmosphere of this week's meet.
"When I was here last time, I didn't really expect to make the team," Briscoe said. "Coming in this time, I knew I had a good shot at making it. I mentally prepared myself a lot before going into the meet, so I wouldn't be so nervous to the point where I couldn't perform to the best of my ability."
Although Briscoe fell short of earning a spot on Team USA, her second experience at Trials figures to be a springboard for her as she heads into her final two years at Texas. Through competing and holding her own against the best in the United States (in a field that included two of the top three jumpers in the world this year), Briscoe absorbed what she feels it will take to elevate her achievements to the next level.
"Fourth place feels like the worst place sometimes," Briscoe said. "But I can take so much from this experience, seeing how close I was and being able to almost taste London. I learned that I'm going to have to go hard from the beginning all the way to the end. I can't wait until three months before to get my mind right and to start doing everything right to make the team. It starts at the beginning of the season."
Still, Briscoe is reveling in the glow of a lifetime-best performance on the most prominent national track and field stage.
"Competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials is like no other meet. There is nothing better. It's a completely amazing feeling."