If Aldrich Bailey someday becomes a world-class quartermiler, Saturday in Lubbock might be viewed as the time and place that he broke onto the scene.
The Mansfield Timberview track star broke the Region I-5A meet record in the 400 meters, running a time of 45.19 seconds at Texas Tech’s Fuller Track Complex. The record belonged to Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner, and the time should get Bailey into the Olympic trials this summer — the U.S. Track and Field web site lists 45.30 as the “A” standard for qualifying.
“My goal was to break 45,” Bailey said. “That’s been my goal the whole year. I hopefully can break it by the summer.”
The National Federation of High School Sports lists the natinoal schoolboy record as 45.25, set by future Olympian Calvin Harrison in 1993. Bailey received a standing ovation when it was announced that he broke Wariner’s regional mark. There’s still an extensive process to certify whether the performance will be a national record, meet officials said.
Nevertheless, it was a day to remember. Bailey won the 400 by more than two seconds over Duncanville’s Richard Gary — and Gary finished third in the Class 5A state meet last year when Bailey won.
Bailey’s previous personal record was 46.07, “but I was still playing around,” he said.
“Earlier, when I was running 400s, I wasn’t set up for race pace,” he said.
Bailey put an exclamation point on his day in the final race. In the 1,600-meter relay, he took the baton in fourth place and ran down Gary in the homestretch to lift Timberview to the win. He made up a gap of at least 10 yards.
Bailey has signed with Texas A&M, choosing the Aggies over Florida State, LSU, Alabama and Baylor.
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