(photo by Errol Anderson)
Bobby Grant Is A World Record Holder
On Saturday night at College Station, Texas, Brophy College Preparatory alumnus Robert Grant ran his final race inside Gilliam Stadium as an Aggie. In one of the most exciting finishes spectators witnessed the fastest 4x400 ever recorded. Texas A&M spent much of the race in third place behind USC and Florida, until Grant's teammate Mylik Kerley (Sr.) managed to edge out Florida's Benjamin Lobo Vedel (Fr.) for 2nd by four one-hundredths of a second. Though the Trojan men ran 3:00.77 as the fastest Indoor 4x400m ever recorded, they could not claim the world record as the IAAF rules that all four members have to be from the same country and their 2nd leg, Raj Benjamin (Jr.) represents Antigua and Barbuda. That record went to the Aggies' with their clocking of 3:01.39, breaking Poland's record just six days prior. We caught up with Bobby about his role in the World Record performance.
You attended Miami as a college freshman and transferred to Texas A&M. Did you imagine that you would be a part of a World Record Team when you transferred?
Leaving Miami was extremely hard for me to do, I had great friends and I loved the school I still do actually I love it just as much as A&M. I knew that transferring was the right thing for me to do. A&M is historically a great 400-meter program so I knew coming here the coaches could help me get to a great place athletically. Did I ever think I would break a world record when transferring? I knew it was always a possibility with the talent we have and how well we challenge each other. I would like to say though that I have nothing but respect for all of the USC athletes and it's a shame that they can't officially claim the WR in the race but everyone who was there knows who won the race. Regardless of that fact though I'm really blessed to be able to say I'm a world record holder.
You got food poisoning the night before the Men's 400. What went through your mind on Saturday during your leg of the relay? What kind of a responsibility did you feel to your team at your last meet in Gilliam Stadium?
They put me on an IV on Thursday to try and get ready, but for my open event it wasn't enough time for my body to recover. The open suffered but I felt like I did my job on the relay. I think the only thing that went through my mind was that I won state in three events my senior year with a fever and competed plenty of times sick and that if I did that I could do it again. I think in any high-pressure situation on a relay you feel a lot of responsibility but especially the race being at home in front of our crowd and my last time running on the Aggie team on that track, you feel a lot of responsibility. I just knew I couldn't leave the fans without a show and I had to go out with a bang on that track and I feel like we did that!
What prepared you for this test at nationals? Whether it be certain workouts from this week? Or words of inspiration from your parents or coach?
In college Coach Henry puts us in high pressure situations to get us ready for moments like that of great adversity, so when our name is called we don't shy away but welcome the challenge with open arms. I work a lot with a sports psychologist here at A&M as well and he helps me prepare mentally every week and work on things to improve. We did a really hard workout the week before nationals and I knew I could handle anything after that. My parents are constantly just telling me I can do anything through the Lord and if I believe in myself. I aspire to be a lot like my dad. He has had to deal with hard situations and the way he handles adversity really inspires me so I just tried to channel him this week in my race.
(Below: Grant won the Invitational 300m Hurdles at the 2014 Arcadia Invitational.-photo by Margot Kelly)
What advice would you give to athletes back home in Arizona who aspire to reach success like yourself?
First off, they need to understand that success is not a steady incline but a rocky road full of huge adversities and struggles. Second, I would tell them to also realize that there is no such thing as winning and losing but only winning and learning. Once you accept that in any situation you can learn from everything you start to become a better athlete. Third, that positivity is extremely key to be successful. Wake up every day with a smile and go to sleep with one. My slogan is nobody has more fun than me, and I try to enjoy every little moment in my life to the fullest. Fourth athletes should focus on the little things because they become the big things. Finally, Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to stand face to face with it and square up. I along with a ton of athletes at this level have our fears but in order to be successful you need to welcome them and challenge them as look at everything as a big opportunity to prove your doubts wrong.
We wish Mr. Grant the best of luck this Outdoor Track Season.