Derrick Brooks refuses to back down from adversity.

Over the past nine months he’s been uprooted from his home in Georgia following an unexpected family loss to begin anew in Houston.

A junior at Cypress Woods High School, Brooks has settled into a new routine with the help of his teammates on the Wildcats boys’ track and field squad.

Two weeks ago, back stiffness forced him to miss his signature race – the 400-meter dash – at the District 17-6A meet.

However, the Wildcats’ mile relay unit still managed to qualify for the area meet at Cy Falls High School and Brooks was determined to be a part of it.

“I’ve been going to training every day before and after school,” he said. “Even during fifth period, I’d go every day and use the stimulus machine and do my stretching.”

Brooks even had therapy on the day of the area meet and assumed his position as the Wildcats’ anchor runner in the meet’s final event. Cy Woods was in fourth place when Brooks received the baton.

Brooks crossed the finish line following teammates Angel Laca, Alec Hernandez and Nathaniel Hardrick with the Wildcats in third place. A performance good enough to claim the bronze medal behind Cy-Fair and Cy Falls and advanced to the next round.

Cypress Woods qualified for the Region III-6A meet at Challenger-Columbia Stadium in League City. The top two mile relays will advance to the state high school track and field meet in Austin next month.

“The competition level is about what I expected,” said Brooks, whose personal-best time in the 400-meter dash is 49.12 seconds. “My transition coming down here was a little difficult at first, but I got used to it. Things are going well right now.”

Brooks admits to being more of a homebody who likes to catch up on his rest when he’s not training or competing. He watches football and sometimes basketball on television and he’s become a fan of both the Texans and Rockets.

He also plays football and plans to be a member of the Cy Woods football team next fall. His natural position is cornerback.

Yet track is where his heart lies and his main focus is getting the Cy Woods mile relay team to the state meet. Brooks realizes that will be a challenge, but after surviving what he’s gone through recently, it’s simply another hurdle to overcome.

His mental toughness may stem from his approach to the 400-meter dash. While the 400 is the longest sprint, it takes strength and endurance to excel in it.

“I think differently from most people that run it,” he said. “Most people say you can’t sprint around the whole track. They say don’t sprint the first 200 or the last 200. I tell myself to sprint the entire race and get it over with.

“Try to P.R. every week and start the next week fresh,” Brooks said. “My teammates picked me up when I was hurt. I want to be there for them going forward.”

About Derrick Brooks

Birth date – April 13, 2000

Birth sign – Aries

Favorite subject – English

Favorite author – Walter Dean Myers

Favorite meal – Ribs, yams and cornbread

Possible college major – Business administration or marketing

Possible career – Sports marketing

World problem he would solve – Crime

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