The remark came with the adrenaline still pumping through his veins so when Paul Lucas proclaimed he was going to approach the 10 second 100-meter dash before his career at Mountain Pointe was done it could be brushed off as competitive bravado.
But it is clear, the speedy sophomore means business.
“I have two years, so 10.1, 10.2?” Lucas said at the time. “I’m trying to be, by the end of it, the fastest athlete to ever come out of Arizona.”
The wins in the 100 and runner-up finish in the 200 at the state meet earned him All-Tribune first-team honors. Other area first teamers are Desert Vista’s Scott Marshall in the pole vault and Thunder double state champion Dylan Fischer (shot put, discus).
But it was Lucas who had the crowd buzzing at meets this year and it is hard to doubt him after he won the 100 against one of the state’s best track athletes to come out of Arizona — Brophy’s Devon Allen — and then followed it up with another solid performance at the Great Southwest where he saw a 9.9 in person to finish second.
Seeing what sub-10 looks like will only serve as inspiration for an athlete who already has Olympic aspirations.
So he’ll be pushed even more as he matures and becomes the state’s premier sprinter the next two seasons.
He’ll be taking over the reigns from Allen, who is the Tribune Boys Track Athlete of the Year for a second consecutive season.
Allen put his skills on full display in the final three events at state, winning the 200-meter dash (20.98 seconds), the 110-meter high hurdles (13.59 seconds) and the 300-meter hurdles (36.74 seconds), leading Brophy to the team title and claiming a second consecutive Tribune Boys Track Athlete of the Year award.
There were some fleeting moments of doubt, especially, he said, when Grant led him on the turn of the 300 hurdles. But Allen is used to the big stage, and he forgot about the pain in his ankle and in his chest in those moments to find another level.
“I always seemed to feel better on race days,” Allen said. “I don’t know if it’s the adrenaline or what, but at state (the ankle) didn’t hurt too badly.”
After four magnificent years, this was the way it was supposed to end for Allen.
He set a state record in the 110-hurdles as a junior and surpassed it with a time of 13.50 seconds at the Mt. Sac Relays in April. He won five state individual titles in his final two years, and could have won four events as a senior if he stayed healthy.
Always the perfectionist, Allen wishes the injury wouldn’t have lingered. However, it’s almost 100 percent now as he prepares for the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships beginning on Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa. If he makes that team, he will try to escape for a weekend from fall football camp at Oregon to run in the Pan Am Junior Championships in Medellin, Columbia.
Once he’s done with his freshman season on the gridiron with the powerhouse Ducks, Allen will switch over to track. Once track is done, he will be back to football.
It’s the dance he’s done for years, and for awhile, he actually appreciated the time off forced by the injury.
“It was cool being able to watch some of the track meets,” Allen said. “I’d be sitting in the stands drinking Gatorade and eating pretzels.”
He could have relaxed all season if he so chose.
After months of inactivity and with a future already decided, few would have questioned Allen if he sat out the year to heal.
Instead, he came back and capped his high school career with another memorable showing.
“That’s what I do,” Allen said. “I run.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.