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Tarboro hurdler Gurley returns from France with 'fun' memories
July 16, 2011North Carolina
By Calvin Adkins
Tarboro Daily Southerner
TARBORO - For Tarboro Vikings outstanding track star Todd Gurley, there was good news and then there was not so much of good news during his trip to France to participate in the World Youth Championship. The good news is that he broke his 110-meter hurdles record. The not so much of good news is that he did not qualify for the finals.
"It wasn't bad because I was able to break my personal record," Gurley said during a telephone interview on Wednesday, two days after he arrived back to the United States. "I wasn't disappointed because I gave it my all and that's all I could do."
Gurley broke his personal best with a time of 13.86, which qualified him for the semifinals. In the semifinals, he said that he touched a couple of hurdles that obviously slowed him down and he finished in sixth place with at time of 14:10. He said before he hit the hurdles, he was in third place. He was also nursing a turf toe in which he didn't talk too much about.
"I didn't want to use that for an excuse," he said. "I didn't worry about that too much."
Gurley, who is also an outstanding football player, earned the trip to France by winning the 110-meter hurdles at the World Youth Trial national track meet at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in June. Gurley flew to Lillie, France along with other U.S. track and field athletes on July 6 where they participated in the World track meet for 16 and 17-year-old girls and boys.
Just being on the team and wearing the U.S. colors were already moral victories for the rising Tarboro High School senior. He said his favorites moments included the beginning ceremony in which all the athletes walked down the street in a parade and the ending of the ceremony when they were given a party.
Gurley turned down an invitation to participate in a popular football camp in Oregon where many of the top prep high school players are invited annually.
"I missed out on getting some football gear and meeting some NFL players, but I still feel like I made the right decision," he said. "I had fun. They asked me to keep on working so that I can come back next year."
Gurley is a three-sport prep star who won the 110-meter hurdles at the NCHSAA 2-A state track meet this year. He also was the MVP of the Vikings' 2010 football championship team, selected as All-State in football and All-Conference in football and basketball. He is one of the most highly recruited football players in the state and he is ranked No. 28 by ESPN for his position as running back.
Several Division I colleges are recruiting Gurley, who narrowed his choices to UNC, N.C. State, Georgia, Auburn, Clemson, Virginia and South Carolina.