Wakefield High junior Dylan Peebles sat in a hotel room and glanced at information about the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation last winter before the New Balance Nationals Indoor high school indoor track and field championships.
He noticed the NSAF, which conducts the national high school championships, also organizes the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational, an international track and field competition that will be held in Havana, Cuba, this year.
What would be the odds of being one of the 14 boys chosen for that team, he mused. He and his father dismissed the notion quickly.
But Peebles leaves Tuesday for Miami where he will meet the other 13 boys and 14 girls, all underclassmen, who have been selected to compete next Saturday and Sunday in the meet.
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“Just knowing that you are representing the United States is quite an honor,” Peebles said. “It is just now hitting me.”
Peebles won the N.C. High School Athletic Association 300-meters 4A championship indoors and was the 4A runner-up in the 200 meters.
He was chosen for the U.S. team despite not having a great performance in the indoor nationals.
A top sprinter
Dylan didn’t run too well because he got some bad coaching advice, according to his father, Danny Peebles, who was coaching his son at the meet.
“I gave him terrible advice,” said his father, a former football and track star at N.C. State and a former NFL wide receiver. “I usually don’t coach him, but I was filling in. He listened to me and it didn’t work out.”
He ranks among the top young sprinters in the country. He has run 100 meters in 10.9 seconds and has covered 200 meters in 21.3 seconds.
“He has run faster than I did at his age,” said Danny Peebles, a high school state champion at Needham B. Broughton High School. “My best time before my junior year was 21.6.”
Being selected to the U.S. team was a great honor, but Dylan weighed some factors before accepting the spot.
Chance of a lifetime
Dylan is a defensive back on the Wakefield High football team and he was scheduled to attend the N.C. State and Clemson football camps this week.
“He wants to be a good teammate in football and had to pause for just a second to think about what he should do,” his father said. “But he realized this could be the chance of a lifetime.”
With passport in hand, thanks to a previous summer cruise, Dylan is excited to enter his first international competition. The meet is designed to give international experience to young athletes.
The meet helped give international exposure years ago to hurdlers Johnny Dutch of Clayton and Wayne Davis II of Southeast Raleigh.
Peebles will run the 100 and 200 in Cuba, a country about which he knows very little.
“I know nothing about Cuba except that a few years ago Americans couldn’t go there,” Peebles said.
His goals for the meet are simple. He wants to run faster than he ever has, make new friends and represent the United States.