Quincy Wilson, 16-year-old phenom, falls short of automatic Olympic berth with sixth place finish in 400m


EUGENE, Ore. — The magic didn’t quite run out. But, finally, Quincy Wilson bumped his head on his ascending ceiling.

The 16-year-old, who captured the nation with his improbable run to the finals, fell just short of making the Olympic team. He ran the 400-meter final Monday in 44.94 seconds, good for sixth place. He needed to finish in the top three to earn an automatic spot.

One of the surprise stars of these U.S. Olympic track and field trials, Wilson still could make the Olympic team in Paris as part of the 4×400 relay pool.

Quincy Hall took the gold as America’s champ in the men’s 400 meters with a personal best time of 44.17. Michael Norman took second place at 44.41 seconds. Chris Bailey finished third at 44.42, tying his personal best.

The top four are traditionally guaranteed a spot in the six-man pool. Vernon Norwood clocked the fourth-best time (44.47). The final two spots are left to the discretion of the USATF.

Wilson could be selected for the sake of getting him valuable experience, considering his trajectory makes him a virtual lock for 2028. Or, the relay spots could go to more experienced runners, especially since it appears Wilson will soon own a relay spot perennially.

Bryce Deadmon took fifth at 44.61. Khaleb McRae took seventh at 45.06.

If Wilson does make the relay pool, he’d be the youngest American male ever to make the Olympic team in track. He’d the first 16 year old to make the USA track and field squad since Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone accomplished the feat in 2016.

Wilson came into the trials having never clocked below 45 seconds. Now he’s done it three times in three days. And he’s run right into the hearts of the nation.

The crowd at Hayward Field, on behalf of a nation pulling for him, roared as Wilson churned around the final turn and gave it all he had over the last one hundred. After his magical run was over, he received a standing ovation.

“I’m super proud of that kid,” Norwood said. “I’m a big fan of his. He’s phenomenal. (The semifinals) showed me he’s ready for the moment. … I was in (Lane) 7, Bryce was in five, he was in six. I pushed the pace a little bit, see if he was gonna fold. Bryce caught up on him. So we kind of sandwiched him. And he responded really well. So that let me know he has a great future in this sport.”

It’s been an epic introduction to the sports world for the rising junior at Bullis High. Wilson burst onto the national scene 11 days ago with a jaw-dropping performance in the New Balance Nationals Outdoors high school championships in Pennsylvania. He ran the 400 meters in 45.19, breaking the high school record. It earned him a spot in the Olympic trials and landed him a New Balance NIL deal.

While this is an accelerated rise to prominence, Wilson’s long been a prodigy.

In August of 2022 AAU Junior Olympic Games, a 14-year-old Wilson ran the 400 in 47.59, breaking Obea Moore’s 30-year-old record for 14-and-under.

In March of 2023, he was the only freshman in the 400-meter field at the New Balance National Indoors, he ran a 46.67 to blow everyone away. A year later at the same event, Quincy dropped his time to 45.76 and broke Elzie Coleman’s 20-year-old high school indoor record.

He’s got five AAU titles.

Quincy Wilson will be back. 

Required reading

(Photo: Ben Lonergan / The Register-Guard / USA Today)





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