LSU Track Coach Dennis Shaver keeping Brianna Lyston ‘grounded’ as she soars to new heights

By April 11, 2024

As LSU sophomore sprinter Brianna Lyston continues to achieve remarkable success on the track, Head Track Coach Dennis Shaver remains focused on keeping her grounded amidst the rising excitement and expectations surrounding her performances.

Lyston's recent accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary. She kicked off her indoor season by clinching the SEC 60m title and followed it up with a stunning victory at the NCAA National Indoor Championships, where she clocked a personal best of 7.03 seconds in the 60m dash. This impressive time not only secured her the national title but also placed her as the second-fastest woman in collegiate history and the fifth-fastest Jamaican woman ever over this distance, trailing only legends like Merlene Ottey, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Transitioning to the outdoor season, Lyston made headlines once again at the recent Battle of the Bayou meet, where she blazed through the 100m in a wind-aided time of 10.87 seconds, finishing second behind Favor Ofili. This time ranks as the fastest opening race ever recorded by a collegiate woman under any conditions, highlighting Lyston's exceptional talent.

In light of Lyston's rapid rise to prominence, Coach Shaver emphasizes the importance of staying grounded amid the noise and expectations that come with such early success. "There's going to be a lot of noise," Coach Shaver acknowledges. "People talking, 'oh, you're running too much, or, oh, you're not this and that and everything else.'"

Coach Shaver underscores the significance of maintaining focus and perspective in the face of external pressures, especially in today's age of social media. "Social media has made it really difficult for these young women," he remarks, recognizing both its potential as a support platform and its pitfalls as a distraction.

To keep Lyston grounded, Coach Shaver encourages her to appreciate the journey ahead and understand that her current achievements are just the beginning. "This is the beginning of a long journey for her," he emphasizes. "You need to enjoy it, but you also need to understand that the consistency about how you go about your daily living and preparing yourself to be the best student-athlete you can be here at LSU is a real job."

Furthermore, Coach Shaver points out the valuable resources within LSU's track program, with former standout athletes like Favor Ofili, Aleia Hobbs, and Micaiah Brisco serving as mentors for Lyston. Their experiences provide a guiding light for Lyston to navigate the demands of collegiate athletics and maintain a balanced perspective on her accomplishments.

Despite the high expectations, Coach Shaver maintains a realistic outlook on Lyston's progress. Reflecting on her impressive performance at the Battle of the Bayou, he acknowledges the strong competition she faced and emphasizes the need for consistent dedication and communication to sustain her success.

As Brianna Lyston continues to make waves in collegiate track and field, Coach Dennis Shaver remains steadfast in his commitment to nurturing her talent, ensuring that she not only excels on the track but also thrives in the broader journey of student-athlete development at LSU.

Lyston runs the 200m at the Tom Jones Invitational this weekend.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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