Some years ago, Track Eastern Carolina Coach “Big Dave” Simpson felt that having kids under 13 in his club was too much like running a day care. Odds are he’ll be singing a different tune next weekend.
A former teammate told Simpson of 12-year-old twins Anthony and Andrew Hendrix who were running 2:15 halves at the local recreation center. At about that time, Simpson ran into Nicholas Sparks training his son Miles on the oval. Soon thereafter, young Fuquawn Greene (pictured left by Ted Plunkett) was in also in the picture. Something was brewing in New Bern, N.C.
But that was five years ago. Now heading up what is possibly the most talked about indoor team in the nation, Simpson is days away from taking these New Bern High School boys on a mission to break records at the 2009 Nike Indoor Nationals. That’s right – the focus in Boston on March 14 and 15 is not just to win – but to set a new standard.
“They’re an out of control roller coaster going into the national meet,” Simpson said. “They are mentally really getting perked up for this.”
The perk may have come from an ironic twist noticed as they stomp down records held by one of high school track’s most note-worthy teams.
Running as Track Eastern Carolina at the Simplot Games recently, Simpson’s boys Greene, Sparks, and the Hendrix twins turned heads as they broke two meet records set in 1996 for the 4 x 200 and the sprint medley relay.
One of those meet records was recorded by Pasenda, California-based team, Muir High School, who following the Simplot games in 1996 went on to set the national record in the SMR weeks later in Boston.
These 2009 nationals, for the first time in 12 years, will also be held in Boston.
“We’ll break it,” Anthony Hendrix (pictured right by John Herzog) said of the SMR record. “I think we can break the 4 x 200. We just have to run the fastest times we’ve ever ran indoors.”
When you look at their accomplishments thus far, Anthony’s confidence is easily understood. It may even be understated.
He is ranked #1 in the 500- and 600-meter dash (1:03.48 and 1:18.38, respectively) and twin Andrew is right there with him, ranking #2 on the 500 and #3 on the 600. Teammate Greene holds the top spot on the 200 with 21.39.
Track Eastern Carolina is ranked #1 for both the 4 x 200 and 4 x 400, and has already beaten the national record for the latter (3:13.06).
“We have come to a point that we don’t go to meets just to win meets,” Simpson said. “We’re going to meets to break records.”
There is one more meet to go for the boys from New Bern, and these day-care racers turned indoor-track phenoms are making a lot of room for themselves.