* Issam Asinga broke the high school national record at LSU on Saturday
Photo Credit: Cara Mooney/MileSplit
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Following in the footsteps of Erriyon Knighton may be a good idea for Issam Asinga.
After all, the former Tampa area sprinter made the U.S. Olympic team as a 17-year-old, medaled at the World Championships in 2022 and became the first American teenager to ever break 20 seconds for 200 meters over recent years.
But Knighton, a graduate of Tampa Hillsborough, did not own the high school national record as he achieved all of those things -- and even as he broke 20 seconds a total of 10 times over 2021 and 2022 before he even turned 20. He did not run for his high school over his last two years.
And so that mark belonged to another American star: Noah Lyles.
The former T.C. Williams High School front-man, the World Champion at 200 meters in 2022, ran 20.09 seconds in 2016.
On Saturday at Texas Tech University in Lubbock at 3,202 feet of elevation, the Montverde Academy senior broke the high school national record, going 19.97 seconds.
What could he be chasing now? Knighton set a U.S. U20 record in 2022, going 19.49 seconds.
Time might soon tell his fate. Asinga has been on a tear as of late, becoming the fastest American high schooler ever when he ran a wind-aided 9.83 seconds for 100m on April 23 in Florida.
That marked the first time Asinga ever dropped below the 10-second threshold and entered him into company with just two others, Trayvon Bromell and Matthew Boling, who had also achieved that feat in high school.
But next on the bucket list?
Become the first high schooler under 20 seconds. Follow a fellow Floridian like Knighton into the promised land.
Asinga did just that at the Corky Crofoot Shootout -- sidebar: What a name -- finishing alongside three others under 20 seconds, including Western Texas College's James Dadzie and Texas Tech's Courtney Lindsey.
What's different about Asinga's season, however, is just who he's technically running for still.
While Knighton turned pro in January of 2021, signing with adidas as a high school junior, Asinga still remains with Montverde Academy, albeit outside the FHSAA state series.
Asinga, who owns dual citizenship to the U.S., Zambia and Suriname, won't run another high school meet while he's with the Eagles.
But he technically is still considered a high school athlete.
Asinga is still committed to Texas A&M University, where he is scheduled to continue his career next fall.