The fastest, most dynamic high school 400-meters runner alive was in complete slow-play mode Wednesday.
College decision day was a little more than a formality for Foss High Schools Marcus Chambers. Basketball and football players plan extravagant announcement ceremonies, so why shouldnt he?
And he did, inviting his entire school to the theater building to watch him pick a hat off the table among the five finalists vying for his quick-twitch services.
In the end, he chose the school he dubbed track city Oregon over Baylor, Louisiana State, UCLA and Southern California.
It has been a big weight for me, said Chambers, who admitted he finally made his decision in the past two weeks. Ive just been really excited the past couple of days to do this and now I can focus on track and breaking records.
How good are we talking about with Chambers? Only one Washington sprinter in history has run faster than the Foss standouts personal-best time of 46.18 seconds in the 400 legendary Wilson High School runner Darrell Robinson.
Robinsons time of 44.69, set in 1982, still stands as the national record for a high school sprinter.
Everyone knows Darrell Robinson, Chambers said. My coaches still talk about him all the time.
Last May, Chambers won the Class 3A state 200 and 400 titles at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
Running for Seatown Express and club coach Eric Metcalf, a former NFL running back and current football coach at Rainier Beach High, Chambers really arrived on the national scene in June, when he placed fifth in the 400 against all levels and ages at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships in Bloomington, Ind.
Thats pretty much when people found out about me, Chambers said.
In late July, Chambers dominated the 400 finals at the USATF National Junior Olympics in Baltimore by running 46.18 making him the fastest returning high school 400 runner in the nation.
Because of coach Clyde Harts longtime tenure at Baylor (50 years) and long-standing success coaching past U.S. Olympic 400-meter gold medalists Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner, the Bears were thought to be the favorites to land Chambers over the winter.
But on his official visit to Oregon in January, Chambers said he bonded with new coach Robert Johnson and his straight-forward personality, and that his personal workouts and the Ducks training program almost aligned perfectly.
Ill be doing what Ive been doing, Chambers said.
On Wednesday, Chambers made sure to take time to celebrate his decision. A Foss track teammate served as Chambers master of ceremonies. The school choir sang a number. And before Chambers came on stage, another classmate serenaded him with a song.
After a highlight video was shown in the packed theater, Chambers dressed in a white shirt and green tie finally sat down in between his mother, Debbie, and father, Mike, to announce his choice.
He feigned on picking the LSU, UCLA and Baylor hats before finally taking the Oregon hat from the middle of the row, and putting it on his head.
University of Oregon, he shouted.
FRANKLINS KERR STEPS DOWN
Jason Kerr, one of the most successful high school boys basketball coaches in Washington the past two decades at Franklin High School, resigned Monday, citing the need to spend more time with his family. In his 14 seasons, he won 271 games. During that span, the Quakers made 10 trips to the state championships earning state trophies eight times, including Class 4A titles in 2003 and 2006, and a 3A championship in 2009.
Kerr is one of 10 coaches in state history to win three or more 4A or 3A titles, joining Mike Bethea (Rainier Beach), Dave Denny (Mark Morris), Mac Fraser (Mount Vernon), Al Hairston (Garfield), E.L. Squinty Hunter (Lewis & Clark), Tim Kelly (Lincoln/Curtis), Irv Leifer (Renton), Phil Lumpkin (ODea) and Ed Pepple (Mercer Island) on that short list.
Of those coaches, Kerr is the only one to be undefeated in state championship games.
After the Quakers finished their season Saturday with a loss to Lincoln High for third place in the 3A tournament, Kerr, 40, faxed in his letter of resignation to the Franklin administration Monday night.
It came down to more personal and family, said Kerr, a three-time Metro League coach of the year. I dont think theres ever a right time to step down, and away from something you love.
At this time, I have two daughters (Jordyn and Sydney) in the family that I have to make a priority.