For all the accomplishments Tarboro senior Todd Gurley has piled up — two NCHSAA 2-A state championships in track, two state championships in football, All-Eastern-Plains-Conference selection in football, and two Telegram All-Area Player of the Year Awards — he can add another: representing the United States in a major international competition.
Gurley advanced to the semifinals in the 110-meter hurdles at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France, the country’s fourth-largest city.
“It was a kind of a lot of pressure to go and represent my country,” Gurley said. “It felt good to be there, but at the same time, it was just a lot of pressure.”
He did just fine with the expectations: As the lone American racing in the 110 hurdles, Gurley finished third in Heat 2 with a time of 13.86, which easily qualified him for the semis.
Out of the 28 runners in the 110 hurdles who made it to Lille, 26 different countries were represented.
Despite very windy conditions in Lille on July 8, Gurley ran 14.10 in the semifinals, which placed him sixth in his heat. The top two from each heat and the next two fastest times qualified for the finals.
Gurley said that the competition, which featured some of the world’s best 17-and-under track and field athletes, had future Olympians in the field.
Whether he will be a future Olympian, or at least a competitor in the U.S. Trials, he has not decided.
“It’s a maybe — I’m just not sure right now,” Gurley said. “We’ll see how it works out when the time comes.”
Gurley won the 110 hurdles at the World Youth Trials in Myrtle Beach, S.C. with a time of 13.88 to represent the U.S., which won the medal count in Lille.
As a two-way football star for back-to-back state champion Tarboro, Gurley hasalready received interest from many top-flight college football programs, among them Auburn, Georgia and North Carolina.
As of now, he plans to compete in both sports at the collegiate level.
“I plan on doing both of them, but it will all depend on where I go,” Gurley said.
In the immediate future, though, he is only thinking about resting and getting ready for football.
“I’m just trying to rest right now,” Gurley said. “Hopefully by the third week of (July), I’ll be back training for football.”
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.