LIMA, Peru – There is no shame in being the eighth-best 19-year-old sprinter in the world.
But Maxwell Willis wanted more.
The Baylor freshman finished eighth in the finals of the 100-meter dash at the Junior Pan Am Games on Friday, coming in with a time of 10.77. That was well behind his season-best time of 10.08, which had made him the top-seeded sprinter in the field.
But Willis suffered a hamstring strain in the 200 at last month’s USA Track and Field Championships, and that seemed to slow him down in Peru.
“Thank you all for supporting my first year of college and being there for me throughout my ups and downs,” Willis tweeted following the race.
His U.S. teammate Tarrik Block – a freshman at USC – won the gold medal with a time of 10.45. Brazil’s Paulo Oliveira grabbed the silver at 10.46 and Brazil’s Felipe Bardi dos Santos was third at 10.47.
Earlier in the day, Willis ran 10.72 in the semifinals to finish second in his heat and advance to the final. He could still get an opportunity to bring home a medal from the meet, as he is scheduled to run for Team USA in the 4x100 relay on Saturday.
The semifinals of the relay are set for 8:30 a.m., and the finals for 1:45 p.m.