The crowd swelled as he turned the corner and fired up that tireless engine of his through the finish of the 200m quarterfinals.
And it was impossible to ignore.
The Tyrese Cooper effect is officially taking shape at the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
There was little debate the Miami Norland (Florida) High rising junior and Miami Gardens Xpress Track Club athlete could draw a crowd -- even here in Ypsilanti, Michigan -- but his appearance and subsequent performance in the boys age 17-18 division of the 200m dash multiplied his star power to the next degree.
Cooper, who owns three world age group records in the indoor 300m (16) and 500m (16-17), went a heat-leading 20.63 seconds, which was his fifth-best time this year and second-best over his career at the AAU Junior Olympic Games. The current U.S. No. 1 leader arrived two days ago in Michigan for the Games and was just a few weeks off his first performance in a Team USA uniform at the Pan American Junior Championships in Peru.
Cooper kissed to the crowd following his heat, then proceeded through the tunnel to find nearly a hundred fans waiting for autographs and a glimpse of the high schooler.
Cooper signed bibs, shirts, and even cell phones before he was whisked back out to avoid the crowd.
And the end is not in sight.
Cooper's schedule continues Thursday in the finals of the 200m dash and into the semifinals of the 400m, where he hopes to break 45 seconds for the first time in his career.
It's in the quarter lap where Cooper hopes to regain his foothold as the best in the nation.
In subsequent months in June and July, Cooper's U.S. No. 1 time of 45.38 seconds went down at the USA Junior Championships and then at Pan Ams, where one of his close peers, Jamal Walton, became just the second high schooler to ever drop a time under 45 seconds.
Cooper admitted Tuesday his plans are to break 45 seconds at the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
If he does it, it may be a sign that the frenzy around Cooper has just begun.