Yucaipa High School track coaches Robert Guillen and Jason Carney say the national attention that Asani Hampton is attracting is having a positive effect on the entire YHS program. Proof of Hampton’s times in the 100 meters are documented through precision timing devices at home and on the road.
Guillen says Asanai Hampton is one of those students who years from now will always be remembered, saying further that Hampton is creating interest in the Thunderbirds track program from colleges across the nation.
“Yes, Hampton is making it exciting for all of us. When we’re at a meet, coaches from everywhere come to see him run,” said Guillen, whose Yucaipa teams have won Citrus Belt League titles five out of the past seven years.
“I knew Asani was someone special when he was in the sixth grade and beating ninth graders,” said Guillen. “It’s not surprising to see how well we all are doing this season. We have lots of depth.”
Hampton has remained among the nation’s top-10 sprinters this season with his time of 10.47 in the 100 meters, which is good for #1 in the state. His 21.65 in the 200 meters this year is fifth best in California. As a junior last season, his 10.48 in the 100 was #7 in California.
Hampton says he is too occupied in training to think about his accomplishments. “I really don’t think about my ability to run fast or to set records,” explained Hampton. “I want to score points for my team and I enjoy being part of my big track family.” He says his outlook might change toward the end of the season when CIF-post season individual meets take place. Right now he is content with being just one of the guys.
Hampton seems to be getting no celebrity treatment from the girls either. Yucaipa HS sprinter Julia Smith points out that while the Thunderbirds track program is under one roof, the girls and boys are completely different teams. Hampton says he periodically gets a friendly challenge from girls wanting to race him, but Smith didn’t agree. “We workout separate from the boys but we follow each other to see how everyone is doing.”
When pressed for answers, Hampton says his main goal is to peak toward the end of the season when he thinks he can run a 10.44 and by season’s end, lower his 100 meters mark to 10.2. Hampton thinks he can run under the magical 10 second barrier before his graduation, which would earn him the title of America’s fastest ever high school runner.
According to all available records, no prep runner has run an official 9.99.
Teammates like Ethan Abreau realize they will always be second best to Hampton in track’s premier events. Friends since elementary school, Hampton credits Abreau and other Yucaipa sprinters with pushing him to improve his times.
“I used to beat Asani in races all the time but not since the second grade,” said Abreau, whose 10.89 in the 100 meters ranks #25 in the nation. Hampton and Abreau also team with Keo McChesney and Sean Becker to form the state’s tenth best time in the 4x100 meters relay.
As starters on the YHS football team, Hampton and Abreau say the cross training helps them keep in top shape for both sports. Hampton, a defensive back, says Abreau gets a better workout as a football player because as a wide receiver he has to run out every play. Hampton said he’d rather not talk about his plans after high school but did say many scholarship offers are available.
Guillen adds that the electricity surrounding Hampton provides surprises. “It’s kind of neat to come to my office every day and see who sends him a letter,” said Guillen, who says Hampton is receiving letters of interest from every PAC-12, SEC colleges, including 2017 NCAA Track Champion Texas A & M.