PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas - Prairie View A&M University women's track and field student-athlete Deonca Bookman has been selected to compete and represent the United States in the World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan.
Bookman, who just completed her junior year at Prairie View A&M, traveled with a contingent of athletes earlier today heading to Taipei, where she will begin preparations to compete in the 400m hurdles in the opening round Thursday, August 24 at 5 a.m. CT (6 p.m. local time).
The Allen, Texas native and kinesiology major is one of more than 300 athletes representing the United States in the Games, which will be held August 19-30.
She is a three-time SWAC champion in the 400 meter hurdles and has qualified for the NCAA regionals every year of her PVAMU career.
Bookman had a stellar performance this past season. She won SWAC Championships in both the 100H (13.61) and the 400H (59.61), qualifying for the NCAA West Regionals in both events. She ran a personal best time of 57.84 in the 400H at the regionals, to qualify for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Bookman finished the season ranked 17th in the nation in the 400H.
"I am excited about this opportunity. This is something that I have dreamed about," Bookman said. "This is an opportunity that every young athlete looks forward to and I am so grateful to my coach (PVAMU Head Coach) Angela Williams and coach (Leroy) Burrell from the University of Houston. I feel as though I have worked very hard to get here. I'm on the track practicing daily sun up to sun down. I love what I do and like I said I am honored to have this opportunity."
"This is her first major competition representing the United States, representing Prairie View A&M University and going overseas," said Williams. "This is something that she has dreamed about. Any USA team that you are able to be a part of is and an accomplishment, because it's not easy to make a USA team. I think for her that this is the beginning of Deonca becoming the professional athlete that I think she could become and make to make it to the next Olympics."
"I think this is the catalyst for her, that's how important I feel this is for her, win or lose. I feel as though she has earned the USA uniform. These are uniforms that no one else has. It's specific to making the team and she didn't go out and buy something that says USA on it. She has earned this. I think that this will give her the confidence that she needs to have and know that she belongs on a higher level of track and field."