YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Pius X Grad Enjoys Life in Fast Lane as Sprinter at UCLA : Pius X Grad Off to Fast Start as Sprinter at UCLA


WESTWOOD — UCLA freshman Gentry Bradley of Norwalk, the prep state champion at 200 meters and one of the nation's top sprint prospects, ran the race of his life in his collegiate track debut Saturday.

In a quadrangular meet at Cal State Los Angeles, Bradley won the 200 in 21.01 seconds and lowered his personal best in the event by more than a 10th of a second. He also won the 100 in 10.62 and ran the second leg of the winning 400-meter sprint relay team, which had a time of 40.34.

Last year as a senior at Pius X High School in Downey, Bradley had the nation's seventh-fastest high school time in the 100 at 10.46. Bradley was ranked 10th in the country in the 200 with a time of 21.16.

"Before Saturday, I felt pretty good," Bradley said. "Afterward, I was overwhelmed. I didn't feel I'd be so fast so early. Now I'm just thinking about going faster. I know I'm still nowhere near where I'll be at the end of the season."

Before Saturday's meet, UCLA sprint coach John Smith anticipated a strong performance from Bradley.

"Based on what he'd been doing in practice, I expected something like that," Smith said. "He's going to be a good one. People will have to deal with him."

Smith said the 6-foot, 170-pound Bradley met two standards to be a UCLA sprinter.

"The first thing I liked about him is that he had the (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores and could get into school," Smith said. "And the second thing is that every time I saw him run he was either winning or right up there in the money. He's a competitor."

Bradley wanted to work with Smith, who coached Barcelona Olympians Kevin Young, Steve Lewis, Danny Everett and Quincy Watts.

"When I was considering schools, not only the athletes on the UCLA team but even coaches at other schools gave coach Smith so much credit," Bradley said. "I felt he was a good guy as well as a good coach."

Smith says Bradley is easy to coach.

"He listens and takes directions any time," Smith said. "From a technical standpoint, he has to work on points of acceleration in a race and has to learn to relax and run fast, but that only comes from repetition."

Smith says Bradley can benefit from having a teammate such as senior Tony Miller, the Pacific 10 Conference champion in the 100 and 200 and who anchored the 400 relay on Saturday.

"Tony works with me and gives a lot of motivation and encouragement," Bradley said. "He's always looking out for me, like I was his little brother, and I appreciate it."

Smith looks forward to seeing how the freshman can compete in the 400, a race that Bradley seldom ran in high school.

"I'm planning on introducing him to the (400) by having him run on the mile relay within the next two weeks," Smith said.

Bradley is intrigued by the prospect of competing in the event.

"Looking at the success that (Olympic champion) Quincy Watts has had in running it, when he started out as a 100 and 200 runner like myself, I am excited about the possibilities," Bradley said. "It's always been a goal to be the world's fastest human, which always means being the best in the 100, but I definitely wouldn't mind being the fastest in the 400."

Los Angeles Times Articles