Senior Brooks Mitchell competes in a 100 hurdling race in district finals at Flower Mound High School last year. He has been hurdling since seventh grade and will continue in college.
Senior Brooks Mitchell competes in a 100 hurdling race in district finals at Flower Mound High School last year. He has been hurdling since seventh grade and will continue in college.
Provided by Brooks Mitchell

One foot over the other

Senior accepted into Ivy League University for track and field

It was the end of his sophomore year, and it was time for district finals. He was one hurdle away from qualifying for Area. As he was about to jump over the last hurdle, his legs became tired and stiff, causing him to trip over the last hurdle and collapse.

He fell a foot before the finish line, losing his ticket to Area. 

This was the moment senior Brooks Mitchell realized if he wanted to qualify for Area the next year or succeed in track and field, he needed to start training harder.

Since seventh grade, Brooks has been competing in hurdles and sprints, but it was not until his sophomore year that he started to devote his time to only track. Brooks competes in the 110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, 400-meter dash and the 4×400 meter relay. After practicing with his coaches and having a few minor injuries, Brooks was accepted to the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) for track and field and plans to major in economics.

“After I improved from sophomore to junior year and got better at the hurdles and sprints, [my] passion [for track] grew a lot,” Brooks said. “[I realized that I can use track] to get into a really good college and use my athletic ability to help with my academics in college.”

Track and field was not always Brooks’ No. 1 sport. He first began playing basketball at the age of 6; he played for almost 10 years. He was in drumline and basketball his freshman year, but he realized they weren’t clicking for him anymore. Brooks started to lose his love for the game. That same year, he started to go to track practice after his basketball practices and joined track the next year.

“I feel like I have the most potential in track and field, especially [since] I [know] how to hurdle,” Brooks said. “A lot of people like to sprint, but they kind of shy away from hurdling because it’s sometimes scary for some people, and it’s a little extra work. It’s a very technical event.”

With the help of his private coach Sammy Dabbs and the school’s head coach Chance Edwards, Brooks began progressing in his hurdling and sprinting, placing third in the 110-hurdles and fourth in the 300-hurdles at regionals last year. Dabbs helped Brooks’ sprinting with fast-speed training drills and Edwards focused on his endurance. 

“Something I love about Brooks is his discipline [and] his work ethic,” Edwards said. “He works very hard at his craft — not everybody does that. He stays motivated. It’s always fun to coach kids who are determined like he is.”

Senior Brooks Mitchell stands on the track with a “PENN” shirt at the University of Pennsylvania. Brooks picked UPenn because of their hurdling team. (Provided by Brooks Mitchell)

When it came time for Brooks to apply to college, he emailed 20 to 30 coaches from various schools. With the responses he got back, he went on calls with the coaches and was asked to come visit the schools. He visited both Duke and UPenn, and ended up picking UPenn because their hurdling team is stronger and is ranked as the ninth best school for economics. 

“I didn’t really think I was gonna run in college just because [track] was kind of a high school sport to me,” Brooks said. “I wanted to go the normal college route, but then I found that passion and wanted to get better and better. I wanted to [advance] to region and state, so I started working with a private coach. I improved way more than I thought I would.” 

One of the biggest challenges Brooks has faced this season is his hamstring injury. He had a small tear in his hamstring, which prevented him from running for the last month. Because of this, he has not been able to run in any meets this season. However, he plans to run the 4×400 meter relay in the Coppell relays at Buddy Echols Field on March 7. 

“Honestly, I’m working harder when I’m injured because I’m trying to get back on the track, versus when I’m on the track,” Brooks said. “I’m also trying to train a little [while] recovering from my injury. I think I’ve done [everything] I can to overcome [the injury].”

Sprinter Evan Enderlin said Brooks has inspired him to do better in track. Both Brooks and Evan run the 4×400 meter dash together and have recently started to run for Dabbs together.

“He’s [gotten] fast and it’s made me [think,] ‘Oh, can I even get close to that speed?’” Evan said. “Especially with the people he’s working with, it’s definitely pushed me to try to go as hard as I can and work as hard as I can for my senior year.”

As his senior year comes to an end, Brooks said he hopes to beat three school records: the 400-meter dash, 300-meter hurdles and 4×400 relay. He’s excited to train and work with the other athletes and coaches at UPenn, so that he can excel at the collegiate level. 

“My last goal is to make [it to] state,” Brooks said. “I want to get to state and run in the state meet [at] the beginning of May. That’s definitely my goal, [so] I can end my high school career on a good note.”

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  • F

    F.B.Apr 19, 2024 at 4:47 PM

    This story about Brooks Mitchell shows that giving up isn’t the way, I’m glad that the extra effort he put in paid off in the end.

  • W

    Wendi RoseMar 26, 2024 at 7:50 PM

    Excellent article! Go Brooks’nn