Osborn High senior Claudette Brookins has been among the leaders in Detroit Public School League girls’ cross country for two seasons, but Tuesday was the first time she finished as leader of the pack.
“I had been running in heavier shoes, and a coach from another school gave me some track shoes,” said Brookins, the PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week. “Maybe that was the difference. I really don’t know what happened. I just know that I woke up the next morning feeling good I had won.”
Brookins charged to the front and led the entire 5,000-meter race, finishing with a time of 22:12, three seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
Osborn coach Lonell Williams agrees that Brookins’ change of shoes played a part in her first victory, but credits her will to win with being the biggest influence.
“She strives to be the best,’’ Williams said. “I think after finishing in the top five so many times, she pushed herself in practice to try to become first. She had a good week of practice and running in track shoes took a few pounds off her weight. But basically she’s just a competitor in everything she does, whether it’s in Phys Ed class, basketball or cross country. She has a very feisty attitude that translates into competing.”
Brookins also runs track and is the starting point guard for the Lady Knights’ varsity basketball team. She admits she only runs cross country because “I’m good at it.
“Every time I get ready to run, I get a pain in my stomach like (a kid feels when) I’m about to get a whipping,’’ she said. “I don’t think I could ever love it, but I know that all this running could help me get a scholarship.”
A student with a 3.8 grade point average, Brookins plans to major in English and pursue her dream of becoming a professional poet.
“I write poems based on my life,’’ she said. “I write about what I’ve been through to inspire others. I’m working so hard because I’m hoping to get a scholarship. This is my last year of high school and I’m determined to leave my mark.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is representative of the league’s top boys and girls athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored for the third year in a row by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators
Sports Information Director
Detroit Public Schools