One of the country's top returning hurdlers signed with the University of Texas on Monday in front of friends and family. Laurencin, who's No. 28 on MileSplit's Class of 2020 Rankings, finished her junior campaign with a career best time of 13.43 seconds for a US No. 7 effort in the 100-meter hurdles.
"I'm so excited," she said. "The visits could be so tiring, especially when there are coaches waiting for your decision. I've been waiting for this moment for the longest: That 100-percent feeling that this is the school I want to go to. Especially seeing old teammates of mine go to the next level, it just made me more excited to pick my school and sign my name on the dotted line."
Joining the Longhorns means the senior will have the opportunity to work with Longhorns head coach, Edrick Floréal, one of the best hurdle coaches in collegiate and international track and field.
"I trust Coach Flo 110 percent," Laurencin said. "Him and I have a great relationship actually. We joke around and stuff like that. He reminds me a bit of my dad. It [their relationship] grows every time we talk. You can tell he's tough, but you can also tell he's nice and has fun."
In Floréal's first season, the women of Texas became the defending indoor and outdoor Big 12 champions. He also guided the men and women to top-10 finishes at NCAA outdoor nationals, with the women placing ninth.
On her visit to Austin, Laurencin said she appreciated how the team pushed each other and meshed well, both on the track and off the track. She said being surrounded by people with the same goals motivates her much more.
As a hurdler with aspirations to run professionally, the Oak Park senior and Motor City Track Club member will get to train side-by-side with current 100mH World Record holder Keni Harrison, 400mH World Champion Kori Carter, and the USA Outdoor 100m champion Teahna Daniels.
"I can't wait to train at that high level," Laurencin said. "I asked the girls how it is to train with Keni and all of the pros and they said it's really rewarding. Especially because Keni gets out the blocks really fast, so if you're up there with her that means your blocks are going to be that much better."
In September, Laurencin announced her top five schools on
social media, and with the later removal of Stanford, she took visits to
Michigan, Ohio State, USC and Texas.
Narrowing down her original top five came down to a balance of elite athletics and academics. She wants to major in neuroscience or biology, with the hopes of having a career in the medical field after graduation.
In her fourth and final visit, Laurencin arrived in Austin. She said she had an aha moment that led her to her final decision.
"After having my meeting with Coach Flo, I didn't see a reason to take a fifth visit, because I didn't want to waste anyone's else's' time," she said. "I still liked the other four schools, and I had a solid top two in Texas and Michigan. However, I just knew it [Texas] was where I needed to be. I just had to sit down after a couple of days, marinate and talk with my parents about it."
Thinking back to the beginning of her high school career, Laurencin had no plans of being a top contender in the hurdles.
"I was just going to stick with the 100m and the high jump," she said. "I think hurdling allowed me to get one more step closer to my dream, so definitely hurdles helped a lot with me taking my officials. I think I'm surprised, but I knew my coaches were going to get me to my next steps forward."
She continued by thanking her coaches, including Brandon Jiles and Robert Lynch for taking the time to introduce her to the event and teach her the proper techniques. During the indoor season of her freshman year, Laurencin was too afraid to jump over a hurdle.
Now the senior has PRs of 7.68 in the 55mH and 8.25 in the 60mH for US No. 3 efforts and top-20 performances all-time in each event.
With the beginning of her final season approaching, Laurencin has one goal: To win.
"My coach and I sat down and talked it out, he said that I proved that I can run with the big dogs in the big races," she said. "But this year, I have to prove that I can win those big races. My main goal is to win New Balance Indoor for the 60mh and become an All-American in a different event, because you know I still love sprinting. Then during outdoor, I want to win the 100mh at New Balance Nationals and either qualify for the Olympic Trials or go out for the next U.S. junior team and win."
- NLI Recruiting Hub
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