Coming off an injury-plagued freshman year, Gavin Schurr didn’t qualify for state as a sophomore in 2019 but he got a shot when several others dropped out.
The unknown Fairview sprinter then placed seventh in the Class 5A 200-meter dash. It was an unexpected sign of great things to come in Schurr’s future. This past Sunday, Schurr, who is now a senior, officially removed the “unknown” label from his name.
At the American Track League #4 Indoor Track Meet in Fayetteville, Ark., Schurr ran a time of 20.84 seconds in the 200, which is currently second fastest indoor time in the country and fourth fastest all-time for a high school runner.
“Four years ago, I was running 24-something,” Schurr said. “To be sub-21 is something I never thought I’d be able to accomplish. I think it’s just my mentality. For a while, I just wanted to be the best I could be in track but I never thought about how far it would take me. Then, I started looking at it as a chance to be an inspiration for kids in Boulder and across the country who weren’t great as a freshman but can really reach that elite level as long as you’re ready to do literally every single thing it takes.”
Schurr’s time would have been the fastest current time had Jaylen Slade (IMG Academy) not beaten him by .22 of a second, setting a national high school record in the process. But it solidified his status among the favorites to win the 200-meter title when high school track and field returns to Colorado in late April.
That would be an incredible finale to a high school career that has been held back at every turn.
After missing most of his freshman season and making a splash at state as a sophomore, what should have been a competitive junior season for Schurr was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That has not, however, stopped Schurr from training and staying ready for whatever opportunities might present themselves. That has frequently meant clearing of tracks at local schools or even running on empty streets or sidewalks, training outdoors however possible for the indoor season.
“It’s been hard training with the weather recently,” Schurr said. “But with CU being shut down for high schoolers, we’ve had to do things like shoveling off outdoor tracks and whatever we have to do to get out there.”
Several years ago, Schurr was thrilled – lucky, frankly — to get an invite to the Colorado high school state championships. But if he continues to rise and his times continue to drop, he could challenge the state record of 20.70 in the 200, set by Jeremy Dodson in 2005.
Schurr’s new immediate goal is to hit the Olympic standard so he can qualify for the Olympic Trials in June. Along the way, Fairview head coach Tricia Vieth not only plans to rely on his leadership, she is also hoping Schurr will be able to anchor several relays and help some of the younger Knights runners make it to state and be able to have that experience in Season D.
Of course, Vieth also simply wants to see what Schurr does.
“I guess my take on it is that I can’t take any credit whatsoever,” Vieth said. “He’s just a driven kid. We can give him tips, we can give him pointers, but really it’s the athlete who has to drive it home. He didn’t get to compete very much as a freshman and we thought it was a miracle he made it to state as a sophomore. And as a junior, he didn’t get a season. As far as his high school career, most people just don’t know that we have this superstar on our hands at Fairview.
“I’ve only had three or four as a coach but every once in a while, you get that special gem that really has the drive to be great.”
Though unusual circumstances have prevented him from doing it during the Colorado high school season, Schurr has definitively made a name for himself during the indoor club season. Now, he is talking to dozens of Power 5 college programs and it appears he has a long and bright future ahead of him in track and field.
Ric Rojas, Schurr’s club coach with RISE Athletics, has known all about Schurr’s talent for some time now and has been waiting for it to manifest in the form of the eye-popping performances the young runner has been delivering over the past six or so months.
“He’s been on this trajectory where we’ve just been waiting for a breakthrough,” Rojas said. “Throughout the whole process, Gavin has had to overcome a lot of obstacles. But he’s quite a student of the sport, he’s a big team guy and he’s a really smart kid. He’s put in a lot of work and study, and that’s really paid off for him. It will be exciting to see what else he can accomplish in track and field.”
The outdoor track and field season can’t come soon enough for Schurr, as he has put the Colorado prep sprinting scene on notice.