Patience has been the key for Airline senior Brianna Taylor during the 2022 outdoor track and field season.
The Lady Viking was running well during the early part of the indoor season before she was involved in an automobile accident Jan. 25.
Then, she suffered a hamstring injury while warming up for an indoor meet and was sidelined for the better part of the outdoor campaign.
“It was really difficult,” Taylor said. “I learned patience. I learned how to listen to my body. This injury said ‘you need to sit down and refocus.’ So, I did.”
Taylor returned at West Monroe’s Jack Williams Relays and outperformed her expectations by winning both the 100 (12.27) and 200 meters (26.20).
“I didn’t think I would do as well as I did,” Taylor said. “I was nervous, and when I finished the 100, I couldn’t stop shaking.”
The following week at the Buccaneer Relays, Taylor dropped to 12.19 in the 100 meters — but still won again. She also ran a leg on the Lady Vikings’ 4×200 and 4×400 meters.
She is running faster right now than she was a year ago when she won the District 1-5A championship in the 100 (12.52).
But, it’s the 200, which she also won at the District 1-5A meet a year ago, which is the favorite event for the sprinter, who has signed on to continue her career at ULM.
“I like the 200 meters better because if I make a mistake, I still have time to make adjustments,” Taylor said.
As she begins her last championship season, Taylor is grateful for the lessons the sport has taught her.
“Patience is the biggest lesson,” Taylor said. “Through everything with the pandemic my sophomore year, I’ve learned to be grateful for every race, every opportunity. You don’t know when a race might be your last.”
Taylor said that track has helped her come out of her shell.
“I really enjoy the fellowship aspect of it,” Taylor said. “I wasn’t that big on it when I started track. I had a lot of anxiety, but track has given me confidence. I’ve enjoyed my teammates and competitors because, like me, they are out there doing what they love, and doing their best.”
Last year, Taylor ran her best in both the 100 and 200 when it counted – at the LHSAA State Outdoor Meet. She had personal records in both events, running an 11.89 in the 100 and clocking a 24.83 in the 200. She finished fifth in both events.
Her road back to Baton Rouge goes through Benton and the District 1-5A Track Meet Thursday.
Taylor is very familiar with the competition she will face, including her summer teammate on the River Cities Track Club, Byrd’s Nicole Flowers. They are tied at the top of District 1-5A rankings in the 100 meters with 12.19 bests.
In the 200 meters, Taylor, who has her work cut out for her, is ranked No. 5. Parkway’s Jillian Walton, who broke the school record in the event during the first outdoor meet of the year, is No. 1 with a 25.45. Southwood’s Rondisia Williams (25.51) will be in the mix as will Flowers (25.88) and Parkway’s Kyla Williams (25.95).
There is something else Taylor is excited about at this year’s district meet — the 400 meters.
Although she ran a 1:00 at an indoor meet in January, Thursday will be her first time running it outdoors.
“I’m ready,” Taylor said.
The Airline senior sprinter has been patient long enough.