When Matthew Boling flew off the starting block last weekend, his coach could tell his 100-meter time would be fast. He just didn’t know how fast.
In Boling’s first year running the 100 meters, the senior out of Houston Strake Jesuit clocked the fastest time under any conditions in high school history Saturday at 9.98 seconds. In a video that has since gone viral, Boling’s electrifying run stunned crowds at his school’s region track and field meet in Webster, Tex., as Boling was full strides ahead of his challengers when he crossed the finish line.
“When I saw his start and when he begin to elevate his hips and his foot strike and the way he began to pull away, I was surprised it was under 10 [seconds], but I wasn’t that surprised,” Strake Jesuit Coach Chad Collier said. “The one thing about Matthew is . . . the bigger the stage, the bigger the performance, and that is just the type of young man he is.”
He was the first American high school student to break the 10-second mark in six years, but his time will not be a national record because it was aided by wind measuring 4.2 meters per second. The legal limit for wind in track and field is plus-2.0 meters per second.
The next-closest time of any of his opponents Saturday was 10.27 seconds.
Boling, who is among the best prep track and field athletes in the country, will compete for the University of Georgia next year. He also was part of the U.S. team for the International Association of Athletics U-20 world championships last summer in Finland.
“He’s the most talented . . . obviously very, very special,” Collier said. “I’m very proud and blessed to have coached him and have been a part of his success. He is just an outstanding young man outside of this. A great teammate, he’s a tremendous leader and incredible work ethic.”
The 18-year-old has continued to break his own records in multiple events this season. As a junior, he was a state champion in the long jump and finished second in the 400 meters after being out-leaned at the finish line. Collier said Boling used the second-place finish as a motivation to become a state champion in the 400 this year.
However, when Collier and the other Strake Jesuit coaches decided to put Boling in the 100 meters at the start of the season, they realized his aptitude for the event. At the Texas state championships next weekend, Boling will not run the 400. Instead, he will take part in the 100, in addition to the long jump, and run on the school’s 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.
“One thing we don’t try to do is compete for records,” Collier said. “If it happens organically, then great, but certainly our goal is for him to win a state championship in individual events and obvious for our team to win a state championship as a team. If we happen to break a record along the way, that’s just a bonus.”
After the state championships, Boling will have the chance to compete in national events, but Collier said they are focused on states.
In addition to his record-setting 100-meter dash on Saturday, Boling contributed three other first-place finishes during the region meet, winning the long jump (25 feet 2 inches) and anchoring the 4x100 (40.72 seconds) and 4x400 (3 minutes 13.7 seconds) relay teams. His school also won its second straight Class 6A Region III title.
Boling’s time edged the previous fastest mark in all conditions by a prep athlete, posted in 2013 by Florida’s Trayvon Bromell, a wind- and altitude-aided 9.99. Bromell was the first high school athlete to break the 10-second mark in the 100 meters.
The official national high school record at 100 meters is 10 seconds flat, last achieved by Trentavis Friday of Cherryville, N.C., in 2014.
Four-time Olympic medalist Ato Boldon, whose best in the 100 was 9.86 seconds, chimed in on Boling’s accomplishment on Twitter.
“As a sub-ten guy, I’ll say this: sometimes you have to run a wind-aided first, before you can run it with legal wind … he has a very good shot to be the first wind-legal sub-ten high school performer,” Boldon tweeted.
Boling has been running track since middle school and has earned a reputation in the high school track community. He told Houston television station KHOU in March that some people call him the “boogeyman” or the “horseman.”
“When I realized how talented he was, I did everything in my power to continue to learn the sprints and jumps and make sure that I had the tools necessary to help him reach his goals,” Collier said. “I certainly didn’t want to let him down, and that is the type of young man he is that can bring the best out of everybody.”