Quincy Wilson: This Kid Is The Next Big Thing

By Kyle Merber

March 13, 2024

The average high school kid isn’t voluntarily reading an extra four thousand words a week, so the odds are that the majority of you reading this newsletter are much too old to be dialed into the prep running scene. All you know is that every dude breaks four minutes in the mile now, and that makes you a little resentful. Don’t feel bad, these kids will never know the joy of riding a bike around the neighborhood without their parents quietly monitoring them via air tag.

This year’s New Balance Nationals Indoor meet was as good of a high school meet as you’ll ever attend – so good in fact, that many of you may have already heard some of these results. Particularly this one: if there can only be one MVP from the meet, it would be Quincy Wilson. His performance transcended beyond the SnapChats saying “OMG THIS KID JUST RAN 45.76 FOR 400M!” It was the subject of at least one group chat I’m on, comprised entirely of olds.

We don’t necessarily need to add any additional qualifiers to make a national high school record more impressive. But I’m going to do it anyway. The kid is 16 years old and is only a sophomore! But he’s hardly a neophyte. Wilson is no stranger to the scene – he’s been racking up AAU titles from an early age, and last year at this same meet he ran 46.67, which put him on my radar.

During freshman outdoor season, he split 45.07 at the Penn Relays, and then clocked an open 45.87 at the U20 championships. Now he is coming for the best of the best and not holding back about his desire to compete with the guys he once looked up to. It seems ridiculous to suggest that a kid who has to sit in algebra class the day after rewriting the record books could be a challenge to world champions, but times don’t lie. Noah Lyles split 45.68 on the 4×400 in Glasgow, but in a more apples-to-apples comparison, Quincy’s time would have placed him fifth at the NCAA meet the day before, on the same track.

What does running such fast 400m times at such a young age mean for his future? Should we be concerned about Wilson’s early ascension?

Taking a look at another teen sensation, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone made her first Olympic team at 16 and she has obviously panned out well. It’s maybe a tad risky to assume all one-lap record-holders will become the next Syd, but she’s at least proof of concept.

The previous boys high school record holder didn’t enjoy a lengthy career, but not for the typical concerns we worry about with prodigies. Elzie Coleman ran 45.92 at the Simplot Games 20 years ago, but wound up kicked off the Mississippi State squad for disciplinary reasons and spent what should have been the prime years of his career in and out of jail.

Not a whole lot we can extrapolate from that unfortunate outlier case!

In watching Wilson run, my first impression is “man, he looks smooth.” (My second is “I would definitely ask him for his ID before selling him tickets to an R-rated movie.”) And in talking to him, I was super impressed by how humble and focused he came across, and how prepared for the trajectory to stardom he seems to be.

As a Newsletter Man, I hate to stake my reputation on grand proclamations like “THIS KID IS THE NEXT BIG THING,” but also as a Newsletter Man, I need the subscriptions… so THIS KID IS THE NEXT BIG THING!

Brianna SelbyBrianna Selby

Justin Britton / @JustinBritton

Other top high school performances include:

  • Daniel Simmons of American Fork, UT, destroyed the national 5000m record, running 13:38.86 mostly solo at the Reggie Lewis Center. If there were any doubts about this track from kids who are too young to remember Craig Mottram, then this answers them.
  • Brianna Selby held off Adeajah Hodge in the 60m, winning in 7.19 (which would have been good for 5th at NCAAs). Hodge doubled back to win the 200m in 22.96.
  • Drew Griffith “broke” Ed Cheserek’s high school 2-mile record earlier this season, but it didn’t officially count because it was on an oversized track. Well, 8:34.91 this time around did the trick, and then some.
  • Patrick Hilby is one of my new favorite runners because the dude went out in 24.5 for the first 200m and still held on to win the national 800m title in a new best of 1:48.47. When Donavan Brazier ran his American record of 1:44.21, he went through in 24.7!

For more of the top stories and analysis from the biggest stories in track and field from the past week, subscribe to The Lap Count newsletter for free. New edition every Wednesday morning at 6:30 a.m. ET.

Kyle Merber

After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.