Football has been Marvin Bracy's first love since he was 6 years old. Track was not his cup of tea — too much running, he told MaxPreps.
However, when he entered his sophomore year at
Boone (Orlando, Fla.)
, he gave track a shot because his best friend, A.J. Turner, went out for the sport and encouraged him.
Bracy was an instant hit, according to track coach Josh Shearouse, who also helped coach him on the JV football team.
"The very first meet he ran a 10.8 (100-meter). Our jaws just dropped," Shearouse exclaimed. "We knew he was fast. We just didn't know how fast. Our school always was known for distance runners. We never had been known for speed. Every meet he just got faster."
Indeed, Bracy went from an outstanding 10.8 start in the 100 meters to winning the Class 4A state championship with a brilliant 10.19 clocking, which would have been a state record if not for a slight wind advantage. He also won the 200 as his time improved from 22.1 to 21.21.
Of course, he loves track now and Shearouse calls him the team's hardest worker.
"I had hard practices and hard days," Bracy confessed. "I started winning and it made me feel good. I started working harder, seeing that I could progress."
However, there was one bump in the road. At the end of March, Shearouse thought Bracy was not going hard on drills and kicked him out of a practice. Every team member had signed a contract concerning rules and ethical conduct and Shearouse considered a bad attitude something that broke the pact.
The next day they had a heart-to-heart talk and Bracy remained on the team after apologizing.
"He kind of broke down and shed some tears," Shearouse recalled. "It was a coach/athlete moment. After that day, you could tell he was committed to the team. I've never had a problem with him since. Now he's got a decent GPA (3.2). He's working hard and starting to grow up as a young man."
Bracy related, "He said I could rip it (the contract) up and be off the team, or I could apologize. Since then everything has been good."
After setting school records in the 100, 200 and sharing the 400-meter relay record, Bracy qualified for the USA team that competed in the IAAF Junior World Championships in Moncton, Canada. He ran a leg on the victorious 400-meter relay, calling it the highlight of his summer.
The multi-talented teenager also has made a major impact on the Boone football program. He played on the JV team as a sophomore, scoring eight touchdowns in five games as a tailback. In his first game, he returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown.
Varsity coach Phil Ziglar noted, "He was a great player with speed, but he took a pounding. He didn't have the muscular size (5-foot-10, 165 pounds). He got banged up quite a bit because he was a tailback. We moved him to wide receiver (as a junior). He just blossomed out and did such a fantastic job."Continue reading