EUGENE, Ore. – It was one special Friday night for a guy named Trentavis when the lights came on at Historic Hayward Field for the 200-meter dash final.
Incoming Florida State freshman Trentavis Friday left no doubt that he was the class of the field at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, seizing command of the race from the start and pulling away for the gold medal in a blistering time of 20.04 with a gentle push from a +2.3 wind.
“He crushed it,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said, just moments after Friday crossed the finish line well clear of the competition. “It’s just an amazing ending to a storybook season for the Gatorade National Athlete of the Year…To have a Seminole sweep of the two sprints is really special.”
Friday’s gold was the second of the meet for a pair of freshly-minted Seminoles and Team USA members as he joined 100-meter champion Kendal Williams on top of the podium.
Midway around what the locals commonly refer to as the “Bowerman Curve” there was no doubt that the Cherryville, N.C. was in command. As the field hit the front straight it was merely a question of how wide a margin Friday would win by.
Friday came into the race full of confidence after posting the fastest time (20.35) in Thursday’s semifinals.
“After the second round and having the leading time going in (to the final), I felt like it was mine,” Friday said. “Coming off the curve today I had that feeling that I’m in the lead and I’m just going to take it across the line.”
“He ran a heckuva a turn, transitioned beautifully into the straight and held his form through the finish,” said FSU sprints coach Ken Harnden. “The last 50 meters he was amazing.”
Friday was already celebrating when Nigeria’s Ejowvokoghene Divine Oduduru (20.25) and Jamaica’s Michael O’Hara (20.31) followed him across the line for silver and bronze.
Harnden, who has coached a distinguished list of NCAA and international sprint champions, had never the privilege to mentor a World Junior Champion in either the 100 or 200. In a span of 48 hours, he now has two, and he joked that he could, “finally cross that off my bucket list.”
“It has been a privilege to be around these two guys the last six weeks and recruit them for the last year,” said Harnden, who has had oversight of the Williams-Friday duo since they enrolled at FSU six weeks ago.
Friday came into the 200 final with the same laser-like focus he had shown at the US Junior Nationals, when he bounced back from a false start in the 100-meter final to win the 200 title.
“He handled that as well as any high school kid could handle it and moved on to the next thing,” Harnden said of that misstep just two weeks ago on the same University of Oregon track.
While there is understandable excitement about FSU’s future with Friday and Williams leading a loaded signing class, the immediate “next thing” for the duo will come Saturday evening when they are expected to join the USA Team for the finals of the 4x100 relay. Without their help, the US squad posted the second-fastest time (39.43) in Friday’s preliminary heats.
With them, the US quartet could threaten the World Junior record of 38.66, set by the United States team at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Groseto, Italy. The finals are set for 8:35 p.m. (ET) on Saturday.
Two other Seminoles will also compete on Saturday. Rising sophomore and Canadian Nicole Setterington advanced to the semifinal round of the 100-meter hurdles, automatically qualifying with a third-place heat finish in 13.64. The hurdle semifinals are set for at 5:35 p.m.
Michael Cherry, another rising sophomore from Florida State, will see his first action of the meet as a member of the USA’s 4x400 relay, which will compete in the preliminary round set for 6:35 p.m.
Though Friday delivered one of three gold medal performances for Team USA Friday night, he will have to wait until Saturday to step onto the podium to collect his and hear the Star Spangled Banner.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Friday said. “I saw my Florida State teammate Kendal Williams do it and I can’t wait to see what that feeling is like.”
Live results will be posted at http://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-junior-championships/iaaf-world-junior-championships-2014-4954/timetable/byday and you can also monitor the progress of the Seminoles throughout the meet via Twitter @FSU_Track.