By LARRY VAUGHT
Two-time Olympic 110-meter hurdles silver medalist Terrence Trammell believes Kentucky junior Daniel Roberts, one of the star’s of the college track season, can win the 110-meter hurdles tonight at the NCAA Championship in Austin, Texas.
Roberts ran the second fastest collegiate time ever Wednesday in qualifying when he was clocked in 13.06 seconds to qualify for tonight’s final at about 9:10 EST (the fastest collegiate time ever is 13.00 by Renaldo Nehemiah of Maryland in 1979.
Roberts main rival should be Florida’s Grant Holloway who qualified in 13.16 seconds. Roberts beat Holloway in the SEC Championships when he finished in 13.07 and Holloway in 13.12.
He has been amazing. I think he is in position to win the NCAA title. I can’t wait to see it,” said Trammell Thursday while working as a clinician at the Maximum Velocity Track & Field Academy at Centre College in Danville.
Roberts beat 2016 Olympic gold medalist Omar McLeod of Jamaica at the Drake Relays earlier in the season to gain national attention.
“From the perspective of a collegiate athlete, it is a very big deal because that is the defending Olympic champion. From the defending Olympic champion standpoint, it’s early in the season, I am just trying to work out some kinks,” Trammell said. “I would always say my goal was to beat one of the big dogs early in the season before they really got in shape so I could put that on my belt.
“The way that they (Roberts and Holloway) have competed this year has been remarkable. He has a great upside. I would expect for Roberts and Holloway to both make the World Championship team as long as they are not burned out from the college season.”
Trammell is from Atlanta but went to school in South Carolina. He’s a three-time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008), three-time U.S. champion, three-time NCAA champion and 2001 world indoor champion.
He’s been impressed with the overall rise of the UK track program in recent years.
“That is a testament to what Kentucky has done as far as getting in the right coaching and putting kids in position to be successful,” Trammell said. “It has been great to watch. I am a big proponent of our sport developing and getting better. It’s good to see the sport doing well in places it is not historically known for.”
However, what’s really shocked him has been Kentucky football.
“They have really been good. My Gamecocks have been having some trouble with them (losing five straight years). We’ve got to change that,” Trammell laughed and said. “That is not going over well in our state. Basketball is one thing, but football is our sport. (Kentucky coach Mark) Stoops is doing a great job and Kentucky is looking good from an athletic standpoint and that should help with football recruiting even more.”
Trammell has been to this camp before and enjoys making the drive from South Carolina. He calls it a nice “getaway” to work with youngsters.
“I have seen some of the success the kids have had from working here at the camp,” Trammell said.
He says the only other camp anywhere he’s seen with comparable clinicians would be the Eddie Hart All In One Foundation Clinic in Atlanta that includes legendary Olympians going back to the 1960’s.
“I have been extremely blessed to be in contact with so many legendary Olympians and to be considered one is quite humbling in itself,” he said. “Just to say I can call John Carlos or Tommy Smith. Or I could call Carl Lewis. Their numbers are in my phone. It is kind of humbling.”
He also pointed out that world record holders Kevin Young (1992 400-meter hurdles) and Mike Powell (1991 long jump) were sitting together just talking at this camp.
“That’s pretty unbelievable in itself to be here with two guys who set records that far back and still no one can beat them,” Trammell said. “I had softball player for New Mexico State I was training before I came up here. We were at track and Dwight Phillips was out there and Angelo Taylor was out there. All of us were just training our athletes.
“I told her, ‘You probably don’t realize this but you have three Olympic medalists right here from the same city on this track today coaching athletes. You can tell your friends you were around those type of people just training.’ That’s the same kind of things the kids here at Centre College are getting.”