* Brody Buffington wins the 100m at the MPSSAA 1A Outdoor State Championships in May.
Photo Credit: John Roemer/MileSplit
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"I think it's awesome," Brody Buffington told MileSplit in March on his rise into the national spotlight. "But my name's going to keep getting bigger and bigger as I keep running this season and outdoors."
Boy, was he right about that.
The Catoctin (MD) senior and University of Georgia signee has found himself diving head-first into the national track and field conversation in 2023 -- for a variety of reasons.
There's no denying the speed that Buffington has put on display during the outdoor season. Personal bests of 10.15 (+0.6) for 100 meters and 20.94 (-0.7) at 200m rank him among the top sprinters in the nation at both distances, including at the U.S. No. 5 spot for the 100m.
But there's also no disregarding the controversial disqualifications that have made the rounds in the media.
After receiving a DQ from officials for celebrating a 300m win at the Maryland 1A West Regional during the indoor season, Buffington faced another disqualification after putting his arms up in the air as he anchored home a win for his team's 4x200m relay at the Maryland Outdoor Championships.
Prominent members of the track and field community rallied behind the high schooler after both races and took to Twitter to voice their thoughts.
"Gah, track and field, why are we killing our own excitement," former U.S. distance pro Kara Goucher tweeted after the indoor DQ in February.
After the first incident, Buffington said he didn't want to be known solely as "the kid that got DQ'd."
The USATF U20 Outdoor Championships in Eugene next week could be the perfect way to remind people that he's much more than the controversy.
Buffington will line up in both the 100m and 200m, and he could enter as the favorite to win the 100m and qualify for the Pan American U20 Championships this August in Puerto Rico. In the 200m, he's one of the top four entered athletes on the start list with his 20.71 indoor best from New Balance Nationals Indoor in March.
Forget the DQs.
He'll be the focus at Hayward Field for his top-tier talent alone.
The fact that Buffington wasn't even recognizable name just a year ago makes his rise all the more impressive.
For perspective, Buffington failed to advance out of the prelims in the 100m and 200m at New Balance Nationals Outdoor as a junior in 2022. At this same event a year later, he took third in the 100m in 10.16 (+1.6), only behind 200m national record-holder Issam Asinga and Tennessee signee Nigel Ancrum.
In just a year's time, he's shaved over four-tenths of a second off his 100m PR and dropped nearly a second off his 21.54 200m best from his junior campaign. Indoors, Buffington now ranks as the sixth-fastest U.S. high schooler in history at 200m.
What's more, he's a sensational product from Thurmont, Maryland, the tiny northern town home to just 7,000 residents. He didn't even switch from a team-sport focus to track and field training until his underclassmen days of high school competition.
The improvement shocked even Buffington, who never truly anticipated the notoriety he'd receive on the track.
"The progression of it, it's just all me," he said in March. "(I) keep getting better and better, that's the main reason."
Miller could pose a stiff challenge in the 200m as he currently sits at U.S. No. 7 on the season with a 20.55 (-0.3) best.
Buffington isn't new to the competition, though.
He may have been during the winter months when he first began racing against other top talents like Assinga, but with multiple national meets under his belt now, he knows what to expect.
The Maryland state record-holder in the 200m will now be the one competitors chase at next week at U20s, not the other way around.