ARCADIA, Calif. -
Those high schools like Serra (Gardena, Calif.)
that wear a big "S" on their track singlets like Superman are imposters. Devon Allen
of Brophy College Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.)
What else can you call the junior who dazzled the standing room only crowd at the 45th Arcadia Invitational after he won a total of five gold medals — four in a four-hour span Saturday night?
All he did was set state records in winning the 110-meter high hurdles in 13.52 seconds and the 300-meter intermediates in 36.39, capture the 200 dash by the slimmest of margins at 21.10 — all this after warming up by running a leg on the Broncos' 4x100 relay team that clocked a glittering 41.15.
Oh yes, on Friday night he ran a leg on the Brophy gold medal shuttle hurdle relay team.
Even if you discount that race, the overall performance was other-worldly as very few athletes have ever won three events at the prestigious meet that attracts the nation's top athletes and this year was run under ideal conditions.
Don't think that's Superman material? How about the fact that 20 colleges have offered him a full-ride scholarship — for football where he is a prized recruit at wide receiver?
Oh yes, he's humble and thanks all the right people, too. Just don't let that façade fool you because behind the kind words is a competitor who never believes he is out of contention no matter how far behind.
"I just tried to run a clean race, not hit any hurdles," understated the 17-year-old after the high hurdles who only took up flying over barriers just last year when his coaches asked him so Brophy Prep might have a better chance to win a state title.
Trailing midway through the race at Arcadia, Allen charged at the finish as he always does to beat Dondre Echols (Potomac, Md.) by .19, improving his own standing with the No. 2 mark in the nation this year.
"I didn't want to hit any hurdles because these aren't as forgiving as the ones at our high school, so I played it safe," he explained. Hmmm. That's 13.52 ‘playing it safe.'
When he duplicated the feat in the 300 hurdles, lowering his national No. 2 time to 36.39, again making Echols (37.11) his victim, he looked like he may have had a problem with his legs after the race. Few would have blamed him if he didn't run the 200.
"Once the adrenalin wears off, you feel your legs but there wasn't a problem," he explained.
Those people also don't know that even a tired Allen likes the 200 and given a chance to run against 100-meter titlist Raymond Bozmans
of Fort Collins (Colo.)
and 400-meter gold medalist Champ Page of Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.)
, he wasn't going to let tired legs slow him.
This time he came off the turn well behind but hit another gear with 80 meters to go, catching Bozmans at the tape to win at 21.10 to the Coloradoan's 20.11.
"I thought he beat me," said Allen. "When you look out of the corner of your eye, though, it's hard to tell."
OK, so he can fly and leap 10 hurdles or so in a single bound, what about football? Consider these numbers
: 44 receptions, 844 yards (19.18 a catch) with 14 TDs receiving. He also had 22 punt returns averaging 13.5 yards and another three TDs. Played a little defense, too.
"Actually, jumping up to catch the ball in football helps me with track," said the 6-1, 188-pound Allen who lost seven pounds after leading the Broncos to an 11-1 record. "I'm a football player who runs track but I'd really like to do both in college."
Who wouldn't give Superman a chance?
Certainly not Michigan and Ohio State in the Big 10 or Stanford and the Arizona schools in the Pac-12or how about Oklahoma?
They'd all like the real Superman.
See rest of amazing meet results in story and pictures on Sunday.