Video: Matthew Boling runs historic 9.98-second 100.
Georgia-bound sprinter has a chance to win historic Gatorade Athlete of the Year award.
When the clock read 9.98 seconds, life changed dramatically for Matthew Boling.
At a 6A-3 track and field meet in Webster, Texas, the then Strake Jesuit (Houston, Texas)
senior ran the fastest all-conditions 100-meters time ever by an American high school athlete and the sixth fastest wind-aided time in the world among men of all ages.
It caught everyone off guard. Including Boling, whose speciality coming into the season was the 400. Almost instantly, he became a YouTube and social media sensation.
Everyone loves speed.
"When I saw the time, it was like ‘whoa,' " said Boling, who was aided by a 4.2-miles-per-second wind. "After that, everything got a little crazy."
It will get crazier Tuesday if Boling is selected the Gatorade Male Athlete of the Year at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Todd Gurley, Abby Wambach, Sony Michel, Allyson Felix and Marcus Mariota will be among the presenters in the 17th annual year-end award's show that honors the nation's finest student athletes.
Boling, a Georgia-bound speedster, would be the first track-and-field to win the award since its inception in 2003, when LeBron James won the initial trophy.
Since then, athletes such as Kevin Love, Kyler Murray and Towns have won the award, given to the top player chosen that school year between Gatorade's football, basketball, cross country, track and field, softball, soccer and baseball Players of the Year.
Considering Boling's historic track and field season, he may be the favorite heading into Tuesday's ceremony.
The 6-foot, 162-pound followed up his eye-opening wind-aided time but winning the Class 6A state meeting in a national wind-legal best of 10.13. He also won the long jump at 25 feet, 4.5 inches, and, before more than 25,000 fans at the University of Texas, he anchored the victorious 4x400 relay with a remarkable 44.75-second split.
It finished off a brilliant meet and personal season for Boling, who was tabbed ‘White Lightning. The moniker may have stuck on Twitter and YouTube, but not with Boling.
"I really tried not to pay attention to it," Boling said. "My friends started to call me it for fun but they stopped. I didn't really like it. I don't like to be treated different."
But with all that speed and being a 4.23 student, clearly Boling is far from ordinary. He's now associated alongside other of the track and field greats who have been selected by Gatorade, including two-time winner Michael Norman and last year's winner Anthony Schwartz.
Female track and field winners include Allyson Felix, Marion Jones, Sydney McLaughlin and 2018 winner Katelyn Tuohy, who is a two-time cross-country national winner. Tuohy, who just concluded her junior season, is the 2019 cross-country Athlete of the Year.
"I really wanted to win this award," Boling said. "It feels great to be included among the names with those legends."
Though he identifies with his track comrades, he said the one person he's looking most forward to meeting at the ESPYs is James. All the Gatorade single-sport Athletes of the Year get to walk the red carpet Wednesday before the ESPYs.
"He's been such a great athlete so long," Boling said of James. "Besides being such a great athlete, I've always admired his mindset."
As always, there will be stiff competition for both the male and female overall winners. Other other male nominees Football — Jake Smith
of Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
, headed to TexasCross country —
Liam Anderson of Redwood (Larkspur, Calif.)
, StanfordBasketball — James Wiseman
of Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.)
, MemphisBaseball — Bobby Witt Jr.
, of Colleyville Heritage (Colleyville, Texas)
, OklahomaSoccer —
Omar Hernandez of Dalton (Ga.)
, Wake Forest Female nominees Volleyball — Ellie Holzman
of Mt. Carmel (New Orleans, La.)
, IllinoisCross country — Katelyn Tuohy
of North Rockland (Thiells, N.Y.)Softball — Kelley Lynch
of East Coweta (Sharpsburg, Ga.)
, WashingtonSoccer — Sophie Jones
of Menlo School (Atherton, Calif.)
, DukeTrack & Field — Jasmine Moore
of Lake Ridge (Mansfield, Texas)