Murray senior Keagin Brooks began her track and field career in kindergarten.
As family legend goes, Brooks threw a rock at a classmate – knocking him unconscious.
So, her dad, at the time a coach for Murray State’s now-defunct men’s track and field program, noticed a chance to turn that experience into something positive.
And, on Wednesday, Brooks made it official, signing to continue her career collegiately at West Point Military Academy in West Point, New York.
“My dad saw that as an opportunity to make some money for college,” Brooks explained. “He decided that I’d probably be a good javelin thrower, which is (now) my main event. I took that and started competing at the national level in USATF and AAU meets. (Then,) I took that into New Balance nationals where I was recognized by West Point’s track coach.”
The senior, last year’s Class 1A state champion in discus and a top-three finisher in shot put, also considered staying close to home and attending Murray State.
“The deciding factor was, really, after school where it was going to take me in life,” Brooks said. “I want to become a chemical weapons specialist, so I think going to West Point will definitely further that career in that aspect. Immediately after school, I’ll end up having a job. And, I’ll also get to be on their track team (with a) full-ride (scholarship). So, that’s definitely a deciding factor, a big deciding factor in where I was going.”
The decision to pursue a career in the sciences was influenced, Brooks said, by one of her former teachers, Mrs. Robbie Shelby, who died on Feb. 11.
“She really inspired my desire to learn about chemistry and further my education in the chemistry field,” said Brooks, with a brief but noticeable tinge of emotion in her voice. “She was one of the teachers that really pushed me hard in that subject area. I feel like that’s what really, really inspired me to go into chemicals and things of that nature.”