ARLINGTON, TX - For a sprinter, the 10-second barrier is the entry to “World Class” status in the 100 meters. Only 100 men have ever done it. Two of them are teammates this season at the University of Texas at Arlington -- Clayton Vaughn and Quentin Butler.
“Coaches are happy to have one guy and then a team of people who can kinda train with them," UTA sprint coach Jordan Durham said. "But having two is just an amazing thing to witness."
Hey, not bad for a school that isn't considered a track powerhouse.
“We don't have a big name across our chest, so we are overlooked,” Butler said.
First to break the barrier was senior Clayton Vaughn at the Sun Belt Conference Championships.
“I was happy to get the win. I look back and saw 9.90 and I was like, 'Hmmm, maybe it'll get rounded up,'" Vaughn recalled.
But it didn’t.
And the date of Vaughn's breakthrough was especially emotional. It was Mother’s Day. His mother, Melinda Pride, died from an E. coli infection just two years before.
“She believed that I could do a lot of things in track and a lot of things that I didn't see," he said.
Then last month, senior Quentin Butler joined the sub 10 club by the slimmest of margins. His time was 9.992 seconds.
“I forgot who first told me. It might have been my dad because I know he ran down to the rail. That's the first time he's ever run down to the rail after one of my races, so I guess knew something big had happened," Butler said. "It was just shock, I guess. And then I was like, 'Yeah, I’m with Clayton now.'”
Now the duo is off to the National Championships at the University of Oregon which starts Wednesday. And Vaughn has big plans.
“I wanna go 1-2,” he said.
Vaughn and Butler won’t need to look far for their biggest competition. The defending champion and World Junior Record Holder is Baylor sophomore Trayvon Brommell.
But this duo has already put Arlington on the fast track.
“We got the Cowboys. We have the Rangers, and now we’ve got the speed at the University of Texas at Arlington,” Coach Durham said.