For Hopewell Anthony Bynum, speed thrills
by Staff Writer
When Anthony Bynum is on a track competing in a race, he’s anything but patient. The Hopewell senior readily admits he struggles at the start of races, and he has to hurry to catch up to the pack.
But it’s not where Bynum starts that made him The Herald Weekly’s 2011 Boys’ Track and Field Athlete of the Year. It’s where he finishes: first.
When Bynum was in eighth grade, he began his track career as a way to stay in shape for football. But when he was cut from the football team in ninth grade, he couldn’t wait to focus on track. Looking back, Bynum’s opponents in track and field probably wish he had made the football team.
Bynum possesses blazing speed that allows him to dominate meets, but he said his key to success is preparation – even though his pre-game rituals are a little unorthodox.
“The day before a meet, I’ll drink a ton of water to stay hydrated, I’ll stay stretched, and I’ll eat a lot of chicken,” said Bynum. “I found out (Olympic sprinter) Tyson Gay eats chicken before meets, and I try to be like him, so I started to do it, too.”
While Bynum’s career records in the 100- and 200-meter races might not be quite up to Gay’s standards yet, Bynum’s marks of 10.6 seconds in the 100 – set at a meet in Mooresville – and a 21.33 effort in the 200 that won him the class 4A championship this year have him aiming to go faster.
“Winning races and meets are great,” Bynum said, “but I could finish eighth, set a great time and be happy.”
Nothing could compare with setting a personal-best time in the state championship while crossing the line first, Bynum explained. Not even catching a 32-pound catfish on Lake Wylie two years ago while he was enjoying his favorite hobby, fishing.
“(The 32-pound fish) ranks kind of low on the totem pole of accomplishments,” he said with a laugh.
According to Hopewell coach Michelle La Pointe, Bynum can only get better once he goes off to Mississippi State University, where he will run track for the Bulldogs next year.
“He has the potential to make it to the NCAA Championships with his kind of speed and endurance,” LaPointe said.
According to Bynum, he does his best work when he’s not in the lead and has to run down opponents. A slow reaction time, he said, makes him have to fight to get back in front.
“By the time I’m close to the line, I’m usually way out in front,” he said.
“That’s the place to be.”