BARCELONA, Spain -- Over the past three days Erika Rucker showed she is indeed prepared to take on the world.
The former Flowery Branch High and current University of South Carolina track star ran her way to a bronze medal on Friday in the women's 400 meter race at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
Rucker put together the best 400 of her career so far in the final, finishing in 51.10 seconds -- just behind teammate Ashley Spencer, who took gold (50.50) and Guyana's Kadecia Baird in second place (51.04).
The accomplishment outdid the personal best time Rucker set in Thursday's semifinal heat of 52.05. She also won her preliminary heat on Wednesday.
Rucker is a rising sophomore at South Carolina and is coming off an astonishing rookie collegiate campaign in which she was named the 2012 SEC Indoor Freshman Runner of the Year and became a three-time All-American. Rucker's 400 performance on Friday would rank fifth in the all-time Gamecock record books, and she became the first South Carolina athlete to medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships since 2008.