Sprinter Michael Norman showed up at Vista Murrieta’s (Murrieta) scorching outdoor track today for what he thought was a final photo with his local paper before leaving town to compete in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Instead, he was surprised with the news that he’d pulled off another first-ever feat as Gatorade made him the first high school boy in history to repeat as its National Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
“I was a little suspicious about the photo shoot, but when I showed up at the track, there was just the one reporter there, so I really didn’t expect anything,’” said Norman, 18, USC signee. “Then, all these family and friends and teammates and cameras came out of nowhere. This leaves me speechless. To double with a prestigious award like this one is something no one ever imagines.”
The 6-foot-1, 167-pound Norman won the national title in the 200-meter dash at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships, breaking the tape in 20.15 seconds. The clocking ranks as the third-fastest in U.S. prep history and No. 1 in 2016. It is also the sixth-fastest time by an American this year and the world No. 15 amongst men of all ages. His season-best 45.51 in the 400 also ranks as the nation’s No. 1 time among prep competitors this year. Norman will compete at next month’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
“His world-class speed is impressive, but what really separates Michael from his peers is his unprecedented ability to carry that higher gear over stunning range,” said Rich Gonzalez of Track & Field News. “From 400 meters down to the 100, no dasher in prep history has recorded a superior set of cumulative sprint times. Finishing the high school season unbeaten, he showcased that versatility to trigger Vista Murrieta’s second successive state team title. In an era where social media often steers athletes toward traps of self-promotion, Michael’s self-effacing nature amidst extensive success is a breath of fresh air.”
Norman’s career-best 45.19 in the 400 is the seventh-best high school time all-time. He is the only prep boy in history who ranks in the all-time Top 10 of both the 200 and the 400. He ran a personal best in the 100-meter dash this season as well, clocking a 10.27, which is the nation’s No. 2 wind-legal time in 2016.
Norman captured two individual titles and anchored a pair of first-place relays at the CIF state meet this spring, leading the Broncos to the team title. At the CIF State Championship Finals, Norman won the 200 in 20.42 seconds and the 400 in 45.77, while also leading the 4×100 and 4×400 relays to victory.
The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the track. Only the 11th athlete to repeat as Gatorade’s national winner in any sport throughout the award’s 31-year history, Norman is now a finalist for the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award. USA TODAY High School Sports administrates the nationwide selection process in collaboration with Gatorade.
Norman has maintained a 3.61 GPA in the classroom. A member of his school’s Do Good Things community service club, he has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics, St. Martha’s Food and Pantry for the needy and the Temecula Time Machine track club’s youth program. He has also donated his time as part of the Buchanan Elementary School Fall Festival, the Vista Murrieta Shoe Drive and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to benefit cancer research.
Norman becomes the 10th Californian to win Gatorade national honors in boys track & field. In all, 67 California natives have won Gatorade national honors throughout the award’s history, the most of any state. Norman joins a distinguished list of national-winner alumni from the Golden State, including NBA All-Star Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall, North Hollywood), who won in 2008, Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix (Los Angeles Baptist, North Hills), the 2003 winner in track, and three-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose), who won in 1996. He is now also a member of an elite group of two-time Gatorade national winners, including LeBron James, WNBA star Candace Parker and track icon Marion Jones.
Texas, with 31 national winners, has produced the next-most Gatorade national winners across the program’s 12 sports, followed by Florida (21), Illinois (15) and