ARLINGTON - The future for 18-year-old Aldrich Bailey Jr. from Mansfield Timberview High School couldn't be brighter.
Bailey is headed to the UIL State Track Meet this week as the national record holder in the 400-meter run.
"According to history, it holds a path the Olympics,” said Mansfield track coach Rayford Ross.
Bailey set the National Federation of State High School Association record two weeks ago in Lubbock, when he posted a time of 45:19, breaking Jeremy Warner's regional record set in 2002. He said he should have run even faster.
"Why did I slow up?" Bailey said. "Forty-four [seconds] was so close - I mean, 44 is my goal. I want to be the first high schooler to run a 44, like F.E.T. [fully electronic timing], instead of hand time."
Bailey used to play football as well, until he had a serious injury.
"I broke by femur in the sixth grade off a chop block," Bailey said.
That's when he started focusing on track. In recent years, Texas has been a hot bed for producing 400-meter champions.
Michael Johnson still holds the world record of 43:18, and won Olympic gold medals in Atlanta and Sydney. Jeremy Wariner also won gold in the 400 eight years ago in Athens.
Like Wariner and Johnson, Bailey too, is from North Texas and has raw speed and talent, but he has one downfall.
"He has a thing for Krispy Kreme donuts," said Bailey's teammate, Jacques Lewis. "He actually bought a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and ate them all in class. He ate every single last one of them."
"Oh man, I have to stop eating those," Bailey said.
He may have to give up the donuts for a while, because the Olympic trials are next month and he already has an invitation.
This fall, Bailey plans to attend Texas A&M. As for his major, he says a degree in communications would be nice, but he says a career in broadcasting would be even nicer.