Central State University sophomore Juan Scott started his outdoor track and field season the same way he finished the last one – as the fastest 110-meter hurdler in Division II.
Scott, the defending champion in the NCAA D-II 110 hurdles, posted the fastest D-II time this season at his outdoor season opener Saturday. And this coming off his D-II 60-meter hurdles indoor national championship March 10 in Pittsburg, Kan.
The scenery has changed as Scott transitions to outdoor track with the Marauders. But his mindset remains the same. During the indoor season he was the runner to beat with last season’s 110 outdoor championship. Now competitors want to chase down the Dunbar High School product after his 60 indoor championship.
Scott opened the outdoor season at the UFC Black and Gold Challenge in Florida last weekend. He finished third in the 110 hurdles in 14.02. He beat hurdlers from D-I programs such as Florida State, Kentucky and Ohio State.
His time already has him as a provisional qualifier for the D-II national championships May 24-26 at Charlotte, N.C. The provisional qualifying time is 14.56 and the automatic qualifying time is 13.89.
On March 10, Scott won the 60 indoor hurdles championship in 7.83 seconds. Scott’s personal-best 7.82 at Ohio State University in February was the fastest 60 indoor hurdles time in D-II this season.
Scott is the first CSU athlete to win an NCAA indoor track and field title since the program earned D-II membership in 2004. Though he’s the hurdler to beat with his two national championships, there’s one person he’s still chasing – his coach James Rollins.
Rollins, who ran at CSU from 1992-95, won four hurdles national championships.
“That’s something we talk about. He’d say he got this time or he won this title,” Scott said. “I’m competing against him even though he’s not running. We kind of go back and forth with that. He’s won a four or five hurdles titles so I have to try and surpass that.”
Scott’s personal best in the 110 hurdles is a school-record 13.73. Rollins’ best was 13.74.
“We share experiences in terms of championships and times,” Rollins said. “I used to be able to say I ran faster than him. He surpassed me last year. … He’s going to run a lot faster than I did. His victory is my victory so I live vicariously through him.”
Scott won three indoor state titles and three outdoor state titles running with Dunbar. Blessed with sprinter’s speed – Rollins said what makes Scott stand out is that speed between the hurdles – Scott started running the 300 hurdles his freshman season and the 110 hurdles his sophomore year. He credits high school coaches Sidney Booker and Darran Powell with helping get him to Central State. Rollins has taken over from there.
“Coach Booker and coach Powell – they set me up to get to college and be on the next stage. They were on us to make sure we did our ACTs and we could get into school because they knew the talent we had,” Scott said.
The next major challenge for Scott is defending his D-II outdoor national title in North Carolina in May. After that he hopes to qualify for the USATF Outdoor Championships at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 21-24.