January 14, 2011

Q and A: Big Sky Champion Brianna Okoro

Junior to make first appearance in the 200 meters on Saturday at the UW Indoor Preview in Seattle

Junior Brianna Okoro of the Eastern Washington University women's track team usually stands about six-foot-one in height. But, after her brilliant performance at the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships in Ogden, Utah, last outdoor season, Okoro stood a bit shorter, as the all-conference hardware around her neck weighed her down a few inches.

The Lakewood, Wash., native racked up four all-conference medals at the 2010 conference championships, including first-place awards in the 200 meters and the 4x100 meter relay.

She will run in her first 200 since her victory when the Eagles travel to the University of Washington to compete in the UW Indoor Preview on Saturday (Jan. 15).

Last spring, Okoro claimed the crown in the 200 meters, clocking an impressive time of 24.32, which ranks fourth on EWU's all-time best list. She also ran the second leg of the 4x100 meter relay that claimed the BSC title for the second-straight year with a new school-record time of 45.31. Okoro also medaled in the 100 meters, placing third with a time of 12.01.

But she's not just fast – she can jump, too. Okoro made the podium in the long jump after leaping 18-10 3/4 to place third. She also qualified for the conference championships in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5-3.

Okoro's name appears on Eastern all-time best list in more than just the 200. She is third on the indoor long jump list with a leap of 19-2 1/2, just behind current teammates Krystal Deyo (19-2 3/4) and Shene Davis (19-9 1/2). Her name also appears in the record book in the outdoor long jump (18-10 3/4), the outdoor high jump (11th), the 60 meters (sixth), the indoor 200 (third), the 100 meters (10th), the pentathlon (ninth) and the heptathlon (11th).

Okoro is joined at EWU this season by her brother, Michael Okoro, who has also excelled in the sprints. Okoro competed at the State 3A Championships where he placed sixth or better in four events. Okoro placed second at state in the 400 meters (49.05) and fourth in the 200 meters (22.05) his senior year. During his sophomore year, Okoro placed third in the 400 meters (49.59) and sixth in the 200 meters (22.46).

Q: What did it feel like when you won the 200 meters at conference last season?

A: "It felt great. It was a surprise because I went into the race ranked third. It was great to win as a sophomore."

Q: You'll run your first 200 since that win this weekend at UW. What are your goals for your first race back?

A: "I really want to run a time under 25 seconds. I have been training mostly for the 400, so my goal for this weekend is to go out and qualify for conference."

Q: What are some of your personal goals for this indoor season?

A: "I would really love to win the indoor 200 at conference. I would also like to get a (personal record) in the long jump. I think our women's team could place in the top three at conference."

Q: What do you like about indoor and why?

A: "I like that the weather doesn't affect your competition and that you're able focus on just competing.

Q: What do you dislike and why?

A: "I don't like how there is no 4x100 relay!"

Q: Who was your childhood hero?

A: "My hero was my dad. He was really hard working and really smart."

Q: What is your motivation to get you through tough workouts?

A: "My coaches and my teammates are really encouraging, especially during hard workouts."

Q: What is your pump-up song right now?

A: "It is, 'Get out of your mind' by LMFAO."

Q: What is it like having your brother on the team?

A: "I really like it. We don't really fight about anything. It's like having a really good friend on the team who really knows you.

Q: Is there any sibling rivalry between you two?

A: No, not really. "

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