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boys hurdles | 07-08 most outstanding performers

This is the seventh of a series of DyeStat year-end awards for 2007-08. The DyeStat Most Outstanding Performers series, which follows the DyeStat Athlete of the Year awards, includes top honors for boys and girls distances, sprints, hurdles, jumps, throws, relays, and multi-events. Selections are made by DyeStat editors and are based a combination of multiple major victories/honors won and performances on all-time and yearly lists. Performances from outdoor track, indoor track, and cross-country are taken into account..

Text by Dave Devine - Photos by Vic Sailer, Kirby Lee and John Nepolitan

Booker Nunley

It’s a testament to the strength of North Carolina boys’ hurdling that 3 of the 4 2008 Most Outstanding Hurdlers are from the Tar Heel state. Booker Nunley may well have been the best of them all, but was ruled ineligible for much of the indoor season and the entirety of outdoors for failing to carry sufficient credits at Garner Magnet HS his senior year. Even though Nunley had enough credits to graduate as a senior, he mistakenly failed to register for the required amount to participate in athletics.

Watching from the outside, as stars like Wayne Davis II and Spencer Adams dueled at the North Carolina state meets, Nunley exacted his revenge in a breathtaking post-season run which carried him to US#1 in the 110 hurdles and runner-up at the World Junior Championships in Poland.

Nunley was among the nation's elite 55- and 60-meter hurdlers during his truncated indoor season, and third over 60H (7.78) to Davis and Colorado’s Michael Hancock at Nike Indoor Nationals (where he could compete unattached), but it was in the summer outdoor meets where he really hit his stride. Flying under the radar most of the spring, Nunley served notice he was back with a blistering US#1 13.40 (-1.0w) winner at the USATF Junior Nationals. That meet qualified him for World Juniors in Poland, but before departing for Bydgoszcz, Nunley added another 110H gold at the USATF Youth Championships in North Carolina in late June. Then, at the World Junior meet, he was a silver medalist with an impressive 13.45 (1.1 w) over the sticks.

Returning stateside, Nunley again took national laurels at a USATF meet, this time the Junior Olympics, where he ran a meet record 13.41 (1.4w) to beat Texas star Chance Casey and cap off his incredible summer campaign.

Spencer Adams

If Butler NC senior Spencer Adams started 2008 somewhat in the shadow of fellow North Carolinan Wayne Davis II when it came to Tar Heel state hurdling, he finished the year having carved out his own place in the sun.

Indoors, Davis had Adams’ number when they raced head-to-head, as they did in the North Carolina state indoor 55H (7.11 to 7.24), but while Davis was busy grabbing NIN gold, Adams claimed a national title of his own at NSIC. In New York, Adams took down a major rival when he held off US#2 William Wynne, 7.75 to 7.89, in the 60H final.

Turning his sights outdoors, Adams was even better. He exacted revenge for his indoor loss to Wayne Davis by topping him in the North Carolina 4A state 110H final, blazing a wind-legal and then-US#1 13.51 (1.2w) to Davis’ 13.85, and also running legs on winning 4x200 and 4x100 relays. At the Golden West Invite in California, Adams presaged his Nike Outdoor Nationals performance with a 110H/300H sweep, taking the shorter race in a windy 13.66 (4.2w) and the longer one in 37.11.

At Nike Outdoor Nationals two weeks later, Adams mirrored his GWI double by snagging both hurdles races, turning the barrier finals into the Spencer Adams Show. Facing celebrated Texans Brandon Tucker and Chance Casey, Adams fought a slight headwind to prevail in the 110H with a clocking of 13.75 (-0.6), then squeaked out the 400H over Casey, 50.99 to 51.07.

William Wynne

After a 2007 summer which saw him emerge as NON 400H champion and US gold medalist at the World Youth Games, McEachern GA star William Wynne figured to have a promising senior campaign.

He didn’t disappoint.

Indoors, Wynne was among the top 55- and 60-meter hurdlers in the land, sitting at US#2 for 60H heading into the big national championship weekend in mid-March. He also unfurled his sprint speed in the flat 400 undercover, trading the national lead in that event with fellow Georgian Christian Taylor throughout the winter. Wynne chose NSIC in New York as his national indoor meet, and ended up second in the 60H to Spencer Adams (7.75 to 7.89), while fading to a disappointing fifth in the hotly-anticipated 400, with a 48.75 effort behind Taylor’s winning 47.42.

When the action headed outdoors, Wynne had a string of impressive performances within the state of Georgia, culminating in a 5A State meet at which he ran a then-US#1 36.28 for 300H, took gold in the 110H with a 13.52 (nwi) and ran a leg on the runner-up 4x400 squad. From there, it was on to a post-season for which he’d clearly been preparing himself. In a clash of titans at USATF Junior Nationals, he was third in the 400H to college frosh Jeshua Anderson and Johnny Dutch, running 50.42, then took a relatively low-key 400H race at the USATF Youth Champs in North Carolina, hitting 51.32 to win handily.

Clearly, however, Wynne had saved his best for last. In late July at the USATF Junior Olympics, Wynne blitzed a Young Men’s 400H field that included Texan Chance Casey to record a seasonal best and US#1 49.84 which stands as #7 all-time for high schoolers.

Wayne Davis II

Like William Wynne, Southeast Raleigh NC junior Wayne Davis II emerged as a top-shelf talent in the hurdles with a 2007 summer push that included NON gold and World Youth stardom for the US national team. With a stature that belies his dominance over the barriers, Davis is known as one of the most technically proficient hurdlers in the high school ranks.

That proficiency was on full display indoors, where Davis dropped multiple fast times over 55- and 60-meter hurdles, including a #2 all-time mark of 7.08 for 55H at the Virginian Tech meet. He took the same event at the North Carolina indoor state champs over fellow star Spencer Adams, 7.11 to 7.24.

But at Nike Indoor Nationals he would be racing 60 meter hurdles, an event in which he had come within a tick of the national record with his 7.63 at the Arkansas Invitational. In Landover MD, he held off Simplot Games champ Michael Hancock and fellow North Carolinian Booker Nunley down the stretch, blitzing the straightaway to equal the high school record of 7.62, a mark shared by three others.

Outdoors, Davis appeared more mortal, running a string of solid 110- and 300 hurdle races, then getting picked off by Spencer Adams in the 110H at the North Carolina 4A State meet, 13.51 to 13.85. Davis dropped out of the 300H final after that runner-up finish, citing a bone spur injury, and did not appear in any of the major post-season competitions.

Honorable Mention

Reggie Wyatt – One of the most promising long hurdle returners in the nation, La Sierra CA transfer junior Reggie Wyatt was ruled ineligible to compete for his new HS due to transfer regulations, so he was relegated to open meets and events he could enter unattached. Even within those limitations, Wyatt produced marks of 50.42 and 50.46 for 400 hurdles, a 46.63 open 400, and US#1 35.71 for 300H over Texans Chance Casey and Brandon Tucker at the Great Southwest Classic.

Brandon Tucker – With a throwback flattop fade straight out of 1988, Lewisville TX senior Brandon Tucker was hard to miss. He rode some serious wind to a US#2 13.42 (3.6w) 110H victory at Great Southwest, and also finished third in the GSW 300H (37.57) to Wyatt’s US#1 mark. Earlier, Tucker had swept the hurdle races in the Texas 5A State meet (including a windy 13.44 and then-US#3 36.38), and after his GSW triumph he was a strong runner-up to Spencer Adams in the NON 110H in 13.86.

Chance Casey – Crosby TX junior Chance Casey joined fellow Texan Brandon Tucker in producing some major marks out of the Lonestar State. He won both barrier events at the TX 4A State meet, dropping a then-US#1 36.32 in the 300H, then went on a post-season tear that included runner-up to Reggie Wyatt at Great Southwest in the 300H (36.69), third in the GSW 110H (13.69) and a pair of podium finishes at NON (2nd in the 400H at 51.07 and 3rd in the 110H at 14.02). In deep summer action, Casey trailed William Wynne’s US#1 400H time with his own 51.44 for third at USATF Junior Olympics, and also grabbed silver there in the 110H with a 13.80 behind Booker Nunley’s 13,.41 win.

Michael Hancock – Washington CO senior Michael Hancock wasn’t necessarily a prolific racer, but he rose to the occasion in some major events, taking the Simplot Games 60H in 7.78 to claim Jason Richardson’s 4 year-old meet record, following Wayne Davis to the wire at Nike Indoors with a 7.67 that also turned back outdoor 110H leader Booker Nunley, and finishing second at Great Southwest to Brandon Tucker in a windy 110H, 13.42 to 13.60.

Year-End Awards Index