Matthew Boling, an 18-year old sprinter from Houston Strake Jesuit high school in Texas, has become the fastest American under 20-years old to ever run the 100-meter dash.
Boling blew the field away en route to recording a time of 9.98 at the Region 6A-3 meet in Webster, Texas this past weekend.
He’s now just the second high school athlete ever crack the elusive 10-second mark in the history of American athletics, beating Trayvon Bromell’s time of 9.99 registered in 2013.
There are some significant caveats, however. Winds were blowing at 4.2 meters/second during his run, too strong for his attempt to be considered an official record. That mark still belongs to Trentavis Friday, who ran the 100 meter in 10.00 seconds flat in 2014 at the USA Junior Track and Field Championships.
However, Bowling’s still goes down as the fastest all-conditions attempt in the history of American high-school athletics.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Boling’s Time Would Have Placed Him in the FInals of the 2016 Olympics
From another angle, you can better see just how badly Boling beat the field. The second-place finisher, Lance Nathan Broome, finished with a time of 10.27, a massive gap in a race as short as the 100-meter dash.
“It definitely felt good,” Boling told the Houston Chronicle. “My block start was pretty good and right out of the gate I knew it was going to be fast, so I decided to turn it up a little bit and ran my best. I was really happy with the time.”
Boling’s time of 9.98 is a world-class mark, regardless of the fact that he’s just 18-years old. It would have been fast enough to qualify for the finals at the 2016 Olympics — faster even than the 10.07 time recorded by Usain Bolt, considered the best sprinter ever, in his first heat that year.
To put Boling’s time in context, it would have placed him seventh in the Olympic finals against the best sprinters in the world, just .18 seconds off of Bolt’s time.
2. Boling is Getting Attention From Some Heavy Hitters in Track and Field
Ato Boldon is a retired sprinter from Trinidad and Tobago who won silver in the 100m at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and bronze in the 1996 Athens games.
He tweeted Boling after his historic race with some words of encouragement, pointing out that his time converts to 10.16 without the aid of wind — still a world-class mark.
Curtis Mitchell, the 2014 USA 200 meter champion, agreed with Bolden that it’s probably just a matter of time before for Boling officially breaks the 10-second barrier –” I believe he will run this legally! So impressed by this young star!,” he tweeted
Mitchell, however, pumped the breaks on recent comparisons to the greatest of all time.
3. He Didn’t Get His Speed From Dad
Boling has been slapped with a nickname of “White Lightning,” but even his own father isn’t sure where the blinding speed came from.
“I would love to be able to claim that it’s genetic – but he just has a work ethic that I’ve never seen from anybody,” father Mark Boling told CBS News.
Speaking shortly after running in a regional competition the week before, Boling was asked what set him apart from his high school peers on the track, and like his father, he didn’t put it down to genetics.
“Probably just my work ethic,” he says. “I put a lot of hard work into it, and I’ve been working since sixth grade. So before every meet, I know I’m prepared. That’s part of the confidence, that I know I’ve put in the work.”
Boling is more than just a one-trick pony, however. He also holds the second-best 200m high school time in the nation at 20.58 seconds, as well as the number one long jump distance at 26’3.5.
4. He Predicted Bigger Things to Come
Boling’s previous best wind-aided mark was the 10.11 he ran last week on the very same track at the district meet the week before.
In that same interview, he talked about the work he was putting in to become even faster.
“Definitely. We started doing more speed work at practice, so hopefully my times will drop, and I’ve got a lot of season ahead, so hopefully, I’ll do better.”
Just a few days later, he would register the fastest by an American high school athlete ever.
5. Boling Will Become a Georgia Bulldog
In November of last year, Boling official announced that he had accepted an athletic scholarship from Georgia University and will join the Bulldogs this fall.
In an interview with The Old Coach, Boling discussed the reasons why he chose Georgia over other programs.
“I liked the size of the team and how there were still a lot of pros training there,” he said. “Definitely (getting in the) weight room. They do a lot of that there and the head coach has a really good weight room routine.”
Boling has his sights set on the Olympic Games, but first, he wants to win the US National Track and Field Championships.
Next up on the agenda, however? The Texas State Championships in Austin, Texas, from May 10-11.