It might be old news for the Baylor track team. But it’s a new dawn for Wil London.
The junior runner has had to build an extra room in his apartment for all the hardware he has accrued in his few years at Baylor. London, a three-time All-American, has had experience competing on the national level, making the USA Junior team just over a year ago and placed second in the 400 meters in Poland at the U20 World Championships.
But the Waco High graduate has yet to experience anything like competing at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in London on Saturday afternoon. Not just yet.
Will it change the way he prepares? Don’t count on it.
“It’s always the same,” London said. “I always have the same mindset going into every meet. Of course, I want to win. But at this point, when you go through a track meet like this on this stage, you just don’t want to make it to the next round. The ultimate goal is to win and bring home the gold.”
Winning gold on the national level has been done before by former Baylor track and field greats. Fresh off his sophomore year with the Bears, the recently retired Jeremy Wariner won the 400 meters in Athens, giving a speedster like London a lofty, albeit realistic goal as he heads into international competition.
It’s not quite the Olympics, but putting on a great show in England could do wonders for the young, budding phenom.
“I guess you would say when you run this young in so high caliber a meet, that when you get older it doesn’t affect you as much,” London said.
London competed in the 2016 Olympic Trials, where he was only one of a handful of collegiate runners to get the honor. So racing in England will just pad his resume that much more.
And with so many internationally experienced runners in the field, London knows his focus needs to stay the same.
“I’ve raced against the best in the United States and right now, that’s nothing to focus on,” London said. “What I have to focus on is to race against the best in the world. I’ve run against the guys in my nation, but right now, I’m focusing on the best in the world.”
Baylor track coach Clyde Hart has confidence in London, knowing how much the experience he is about to gain will be important as he moves forward in not only his Baylor career, but professionally.
First the U.S. Olympic Trials, now the world.
“The biggest thing that I like about Wil is that he’s taking things right in the order you should,” Hart said. “He was a USA Junior champion, then he went over and made the World Juniors last year and made the transition from US Junior team up to the US Senior team. Right now, Wil was the only one to make that transition.”
Competing in both the 400 and 4x400 meter relay, London has zeroed in on one thing: the quarter mile.
“It’s a great feeling,” London said. “Like I told coach, I’m just focusing on what I have to focus on this week, which is the quarter.”