This weekend could mark a turning point in the maturation and development of Tyrese Cooper.
The Miami Norland (FL) High junior and Miami Gardens Xpress athlete has accomplished a lot over his much-publicized high school track career, including remarkable achievements at 200, 300, 400 and 500 meters, but at no point -- at least not since he transitioned into high school -- has he run a distance above 500 meters.
That will change at the Louie Bing Classic in Miami.
While Cooper is entered into an old favorite, the 200 meter dash, he's also going to take a spin at the 800 meters, where he's entered in heat 4.
So what can we expect from him?
It's hard to tell, especially considering it's so young in the outdoor season -- Cooper, himself, has run just two indoor meets thus far -- but there could be a reference point here.
Keller Fossil Ridge (TX) High graduate Sean Hooper, now a freshman at Texas Tech, began running the 800 meters in his junior season. Until that point, Hooper hadn't hit nearly the consistency or elite-standard times in the 400m that Cooper had done in his freshman or sophomore seasons, but Hooper was a legit quarter-miler with 46-second speed at the distance.
MileSplit Comparison: Tyrese Cooper vs. Sean Hooper
In his first 800 meter race, Hooper went 2:01.28. A year later, however, he followed with three efforts under 2-minutes, including a best of 1:54.19.
In 2018, Cooper has hit some pretty impressive times on banked, indoor 200m tracks: 6.83 in the 60m, 21.37 in the 200m, 33.12 in the 300m, 47.55 in the 400m and 1:03.18 in the 500m.
But outdoor performances are a whole new ballpark. At the VA Showcase, where Cooper finished third in the 300m and first in the 500m, he spoke about the desire to try the 800m this outdoor season.
He mentioned his thoughts on potentially running in the 1:48-49-range, but he also commented that -- perhaps depending on his success at the distance -- we could see him at New Balance Nationals Indoor in the same race.
That remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Stay tuned for what Cooper does this weekend in Miami.