It was all too good to be true. In a prep track meet at Duncanville (Texas) High, a budding sprinter recorded a blazing 9.74-second 100-meter dash.
As any time below 10 seconds tends to set off alarm bells for future Olympic consideration, the victorious time of South Grand Prairie (Texas) High sprinter Abraham Hall turned plenty of heads. A time of 9.74 would be the fastest prep 100-meter sprint in recorded history, easily breaking the standing mark of 10.01 seconds. In fact, it would be just a whisker away from Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt's world record of 9.58 seconds, making Hall a surprising contender for Olympic medals this summer.
Yet, none of those considerations are now on the table because Hall's time was too good to be true. As reported by the Dallas Morning News and other Dallas-area outlets, the mechanized FlashTiming system at Duncanville's track was inaccurate for exactly two events … and the 100 meters was one of them. According to Duncanville coach Derrick Dorris, the malfunction was caused by an error with the starter's pistol, which ties in to the overall timing system.
Without the working FlashTiming system, Hall's race was timed by hand. That lack of an accurate automated time ensured that the South Grand Prairie senior wouldn't be setting any records, even if his race was a blazing one, as Dorris made clear.
"It was a hand-held time,'' Dorris told the Morning News. "It was obviously wind-aided, too. In my guesstimation, I would say [Hall's time] was in the 10.2, 10.3 range."
That 10.2 is still close to his self-imposed goal of hitting the 10.0 mark during his senior season. The Army recruit -- Hall will run track at West Point rather than play football, which he also competed in at South Grand Prairie -- had hoped to get near the existing national prep mark held by Jeff Demps after his junior campaign that finished with a sixth-place finish in the state Class 5A 100 meters, with a time of 10.56 seconds.
Based on his improvement from spring 2011 to April 12, that goal of 10.0 might not be unattainable after all.
"His goal was 10-flat,'' South Grand Prairie coach Ken Graber said. "If you add .4 [of a second, to his race at Duncanville], it's more accurate.''