EUGENE, Ore. – It lasted less than 10 seconds, but Trayvon Bromell’s Hayward Field debut in the NCAA 100-meter semifinal left the stadium buzzing about what he would do next.
In Friday’s final, Bromell delivered a resounding answer.
Lined up next to two seniors, Baylor’s freshman sensation scorched the field with a wind-legal 9.97-second performance, smashing the previous world junior record of 10.01. Not only did Bromell become the first NCAA athlete since Walter Dix in 2005 to win the 100 meters as a freshman, he also established himself as the man to beat at next month’s IAAF World Junior Championships at Hayward Field.
While Bromell will enter the under-20 championships with a bull’s eye on his back, the 18-year-old star has already shown steely resolve during his freshman campaign. On Tuesday’s TrackTown Live broadcast, Bromell explained his even-keel approach.
“Every track is the same track—just different surfaces and different competitors,” he says. “You treat every race like any other.”
Baylor coach Michael Ford recruited Bromell out of Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the 5-foot, 9-inch speedster developed into one of the sport’s most exciting young stars. According to Ford, Bromell’s attention to detail is as impressive as his world-class talent.
“He’s a track rat,” Ford said. “I get so many text messages or calls [saying], ‘Hey coach, can I switch my blocks this way? How was my angle on this start? Did I pop up?’ To be great you have to know your sport and know what you’re doing wrong and right.”
Despite all of his recent success, Bromell’s journey to the top of the sport also endured its share of setbacks. In high school, he suffered serious injuries to both knees, as well as a fractured hip. Instead of letting the challenges derail his career, he turned them into an advantage.
“I think about [my injuries] as motivation, as fuel to the fire,” he said. “When I get in my race, I think about all I’ve worked for and everything that came together.”
For TrackTown USA fans itching to see Bromell compete again before the IAAF World Junior Championships, here’s some good news: To qualify, he must first secure a top-two finish at the USATF Junior National Championships, July 5-6, at historic Hayward Field.