This is the seventh of a series of DyeStat year-end awards for 2007-08. The DyeStat Most Outstanding Performers series, which follows the DyeStat Athlete of the Year awards, includes top honors for boys and girls distances, sprints, hurdles, jumps, throws, relays, and multi-events. Selections are made by DyeStat editors and are based a combination of multiple major victories/honors won and performances on all-time and yearly lists. Performances from outdoor track, indoor track, and cross-country are taken into account..
Text by Dave Devine - Photos by Vic Sailer, Kirby Lee and John Nepolitan
It’s a testament to the strength of North Carolina boys’ hurdling that 3 of the 4 2008 Most Outstanding Hurdlers are from the Tar Heel state. Booker Nunley may well have been the best of them all, but was ruled ineligible for much of the indoor season and the entirety of outdoors for failing to carry sufficient credits at Garner Magnet HS his senior year. Even though Nunley had enough credits to graduate as a senior, he mistakenly failed to register for the required amount to participate in athletics.
Watching from the outside, as stars like Wayne Davis II and Spencer Adams dueled at the North Carolina state meets, Nunley exacted his revenge in a breathtaking post-season run which carried him to US#1 in the 110 hurdles and runner-up at the World Junior Championships in Poland.
Nunley was among the nation's elite 55- and 60-meter hurdlers during his truncated indoor season, and third over 60H (7.78) to Davis and Colorado’s Michael Hancock at Nike Indoor Nationals (where he could compete unattached), but it was in the summer outdoor meets where he really hit his stride. Flying under the radar most of the spring, Nunley served notice he was back with a blistering US#1 13.40 (-1.0w) winner at the USATF Junior Nationals. That meet qualified him for World Juniors in Poland, but before departing for Bydgoszcz, Nunley added another 110H gold at the USATF Youth Championships in North Carolina in late June. Then, at the World Junior meet, he was a silver medalist with an impressive 13.45 (1.1 w) over the sticks.
Returning stateside, Nunley again took national laurels at a USATF meet, this time the Junior Olympics, where he ran a meet record 13.41 (1.4w) to beat Texas star Chance Casey and cap off his incredible summer campaign.