Fairview sprinter Gavin Schurr was missing from the state track and field championships in Lakewood last weekend.
Found some 1,200 miles away, he sprinted toward his Olympic dream.
Racing in the 200-meter event at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials last Friday in Eugene, Oregon, the now-graduated Knights senior wasn’t able to punch his ticket to the Summer Games in Tokyo. He finished sixth in his first-round heat and came short of qualifying for the semifinal round.
But the feat for the University of Southern California track commit was still another remarkable step in the local product’s progression. His Trials time of 20.92 seconds set another sub-21 mark for a sprinter who’d been relatively unknown when he made his first state track finals just two years ago as a high school sophomore.
“I was kind of starstruck,” Schurr said. “Even during the race, my mind wasn’t fully in the race. On the right of me was the world champion from 2019, and to the left of me was a world junior record holder. Then two lanes out to the right was a collegiate-record holder and a guy who ran a 9.8 and made the U.S. team in the 100. To be in a race with all those people I’ve watched for years, and come up in the prime of their careers, I think that was a cool experience.”
Schurr was a late addition to the 30-runner field in the 200. Notified by phone three days before the start of the 200, he said he took the place of three-time Olympian Justin Gatlin, who aggravated his hamstring in the men’s 100-meter final and bowed out of the 200.
Schurr ended up being the 21st-fastest 200 runner in the first round. In his heat, he finished behind world-leading 200 runner Noah Lyles and 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton. They went on to become two of three Olympic qualifiers in the event.
Back in Colorado, Schurr planned to run the 100, 200 and a leg of the FHS 400 relay, and undeniably, he would have been a gold-medal favorite. With him gone, Regis Jesuit’s D’Andre Barnes won the 5A 200 in a time of 21.69 and Eaglecrest’s Sterling Brassfield won the 100 in 10.63.
“I think it was bummer timing,” Schurr said. “I am a big team guy. I love to see all my teammates succeed. … It was definitely a hard decision. We got the call Tuesday and until late Tuesday night I was like, I want to run at state. But then we were like, we can’t mess up the opportunity.”
The daughter of Schurr’s running coach, Ric Rojas, was also at the Trials. Nell Rojas, who is a 2006 Boulder alum, finished 17th in the 10,000-meter run.
“I think (Ric) is one of the few coaches in history, if not the only coach in history to ever coach an elite-level distance runner and an elite-level 200 runner by himself to get to the Trials,” Schurr noted.
Elsewhere in Eugene, local track stars Elise Cranny and Valarie Allman both qualified for the Games.
Cranny, a Niwot and Stanford alum, made a strong push down the stretch to win the 5,000-meter run last week, crossing in a time of 15:27.81. Silver Creek and Stanford’s Allman set an Olympic Trials record in the discus with a throw of 69.92 meters.
The Olympic Games, postponed from last summer due to the pandemic, is scheduled to begin July 23 in Tokyo.