TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In the rich history of Florida State track & field sprint success, freshman Trentavis Friday stands alone, which is quite a feat considering he has yet to pull on a Seminole singlet.
Friday is the Seminoles’ first Gatorade National Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year in program history. The Cherryville, N.C. native, who enrolled at FSU earlier this month, was presented the award during a surprise ceremony on Monday.
“I’m probably going to hold this the rest of the week,” Friday said, still stunned nearly an hour after accepting the award.
Now in its 29th year, the award recognizes not only athletic excellences but high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character on the field. By virtue of his victory, Friday is now a finalist for the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year Award, which will be presented at a special afternoon ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in two weeks.
There is little doubt he has earned his place among past winners of the National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year Award, which includes the likes of Trayvon Brommell, Sam Crouser, Curtis Beach, Bryshon Nellum, Ryan Whiting, Kerron Clement and Alan Webb.
“We’ve had so many great ones come through Florida State…who were NCAA champions and Olympian medalists but did not win this award,” Florida State coach Bob Braman said, specifically thanking his assistant coaches for bringing Friday into the fold. “This is a first for Florida State Track & Field to have the national track & field athlete of the year. We’re greatly honored and we’re even more excited about the future of our program led by a young man like Trentavis Friday.”
Friday boasts the nation’s No. 1 time among high school athletes in both the 100 (10.17) and 200 (20.35). He helped Cherryville High to a state runner-up finish this spring after winning the 100, 200 and 400 titles and contributing to the winning 4x100 relay. After establishing meet records in both the 60 and 200 at the New Balance Nationals Indoor Championships, Friday added a New Balance National Outdoors Championship in the 200. Not only are his season-best times tops among among high school competitors in 2014, he ranks No. 1 in the world among juniors in the 200 and No. 2 in the world in the 100.
In addition to his exploits on the track, Friday has maintained a B average in the classroom, is active on the school yearbook and newspaper staff and has volunteered in the First Wesleyan Church’s feed-the-homeless program. He has also worked with special needs students at the Webb Street School.
Friday will be joined by fellow signing class teammates Zyaire Clemes and Kendal Williams at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships, July 5-6 at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Three members of the 2014 Florida State team – Michael Cherry, Austin Droogsma and Sydnee Over – will also compete in the meet, which will determine members of the US Junior World Championships team.
At the impromptu press conference, Friday thanked his parents who made the trip from North Carolina for the awards presentation, along with his coaches through the years for providing guidance and direction. Their efforts played a role in Friday completing one of the most remarkable senior seasons in high school history.
“Trentavis Friday has been the dominant sprinter of 2014 by a healthy margin,” said Steve Underwood, media and public relations director of the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation. “Unbeaten in finals heats: Check. Two New Balance Nationals Indoor titles, one New Balance Nationals Outdoor title: Check. All-time top-10 performances at four different indoor and outdoor distances: Check. Few male prep athletes this year have been able to win titles, impact all-time lists and enjoy untarnished records this year. As one of the few that did, Trentavis has been the most impressive.”