Brian Herron Planning To Bypass High School Outdoor Season To Run Unattached

Brian Herron is quickly becoming one of the nation's top sprint talents, but he may soon join a very rare list of athletes with great potential who never won a state championship. 

That's because the Atlanta Lakeside (GA) High junior, who's ranked No. 1 in the MileSplit50, is currently planning on bypassing his high school season to run unattached for his club, Flight400, under coach Andre Oliver, who has coached the star for the past five years. 

While Herron ran for Lakeside High a year ago without many issues, Oliver said, a new coach was brought on for the upcoming spring season and Herron "didn't feel comfortable going forward with what they had going on." Oliver has coached Herron since he was 12 years old. 

There remains some optimism that a solution can be met for this season, Oliver said, though Herron and his family aren't planning on it and are currently focused on training for races unattached over the next several months. There remains no firm plan to run as a senior, either. 

"I'd love for him to run in high school while it's still fun and before it gets really serious at the collegiate and possibly the professional level," Oliver said. "I'd like to see him get a state title, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. He's motivated enough to move on and he's looking at the big picture." 

Last spring, Herron finished second in the 200m and 400m at the Georgia High School Class 7A Championships to Georgia signee Elija Godwin. 

As a result, Herron believes he can be more aggressive over the indoor season. His goals remain incredibly high, with aspirations to qualify for Team USA at 400 meters for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England. 

First, he's eyeing the USA Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in February. Then in the spring, Herron would also like to qualify for Team USA at 400 meters for the U20 World Junior Championships in Finland. 

This past summer, Herron was part of a World Junior Record in the 4x400 for Team USA at the Pan American Junior Championships, which posted a time of 3:00.33. He was the leadoff leg. 

"He really believes in himself now," said Oliver, who believes Herron's confidence came from his performance at the Pan American Junior Championships. "He believes he can run with anyone."

In December, Herron became just the sixth high school athlete to run under 21 seconds in the 200m indoors with a No. 4 all-time best of 20.95, but he's also coming off a (pending) world junior record in the 300m of 32.64 seconds at The VA Showcase in Lynchburg, Virginia. 

"He just executed," Oliver said of that race, which saw Herron over take Bullis' Eric Allen Jr. and MGX's Tyrese Cooper in the final strides. "We talked about that first 200 going through in about 21.2-.3, and that's what he did. I was just shocked when he went 32.6. It was unreal." 

Herron also currently owns the nation's top 400m time of 46.43 seconds. 

His next goal is to become just the second high school athlete to run under 46 seconds indoors. Only Newburgh Free Academy (NY) graduate Elzie Coleman has accomplished that feat, going 45.92 seconds in 2004. 

"You can see the difference in him when he's on the track this season," Oliver said. 

Ultimately, running at the USA Track and Field Indoor Championships is the ideal launch pad toward the postseason, Oliver said, but Herron and his family are still working on logistics toward traveling and gaining entry into the meet. 

"If he has to fly out on his own, I think we'll work out logistics," Oliver said. "He has a great support with his mother and father and other people." 

If that does not happen, though, Herron will instead run at the Vanderbilt University on February 3, the Kentucky High School Invitational on February 17, and New Balance Nationals Indoor from March 9-11. 

Herron is planning on taking up to six to eight weeks off from racing until he transitions into the outdoor season in April or May.

The plan at this point is to enter Herron in a couple of collegiate invitationals at Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, though Oliver said he's also working on making sure Herron doesn't break any NCAA violations if in fact he does that. 

"The NCAA may look at that as a recruiting advantage if Georgia Tech is right on the track when he's racing," Oliver said. 

Oliver said he's holding out hope that a resolution can come to Herron's situation with his high school, but in the meantime the pair will continue to train for what's ahead.