For Trinity Wilson, the phone calls and emails have not relented since July 1, the beginning of college recruiting season.
The rising senior at St. Mary's College High School in Berkeley, Calif., is without a doubt one of track and field's most highly coveted stars after yet another stellar season. The attention to Wilson, a 5-9 speedster who specializes in the hurdles, should come as no surprise though, because she has been setting age-level world records each year since she was 13.
"What attracted me to hurdles is knowing that not everybody can hurdle," says Wilson, who turns 17 in September. "They'll be scared of the hurdle, they'll be scared to fall. So I think doing hurdles gives you confidence. When I started, I wasn't really scared of it. I don't like feeling defeated and I don't want to feel like the hurdle is going to defeat me."
In June, Wilson exorcised a disappointing memory from the previous season by winning the 100-meter hurdles at the California high school state championships. She followed that up later in the month by taking gold in the same event at the USA Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore. Then in July, she topped both honors by stockpiling titles at the World Youth Championships in Lille, France, with a time of 13.11 -- the second-fastest youth time in history -- as well as at the Pan American Junior Championships in Miramar, Fla.
Becoming a world-class hurdler naturally has a good amount to do with speed and technique. But Curtis Taylor, Wilson's club coach of five years at the East Oakland Youth Development Center, says a few things really set her apart from all of the other athletes he has seen in his nearly three decades as a coach.
"Obviously she's physically talented," Taylor says, "but more than anything, her work ethic and her ability to take instruction is probably key. When she sets her mind to doing something, she can really get it done. She wants to be good, she wants to be successful, she hates losing."
Wilson got started as an 8-year-old when her mother Andrea randomly signed her up for track after seeing an ad in the Oakland Tribune to join a club. Though Trinity's days of basketball, soccer and cheerleading were numbered soon thereafter, losing is something she recalls doing a lot of when she first became involved with the sport.
"I hated it because you don't start track out winning, at all," she says. "Everybody kept beating me. But once I got confident and doing a little bit, and I started beating other people, I said, 'Oh, OK, I kind of like this quite a bit.'"
Proving doubters wrong in all walks of life is a big motivator, Wilson says. Learning to overcome obstacles, on and off the track, is something she attributes to the strong support of her family, namely the large number of women within it. She specifically cited her late maternal grandmother Shirley, who finally succumbed after a long battle with ovarian cancer in November 2009.
"The things that she taught me and the things that I've seen her do really inspired me to be strong, courageous and different," Wilson says. "It was just everything she did. It made me say, 'Oh, my gosh, I have so much respect for this lady.'"
This type of upbringing has Wilson first imagining herself succeeding in the college classroom and then dreaming of winning a gold medal at the Olympics.
"I feel like I've put in too much work and too much effort [that] to not become great is ridiculous to me," Wilson says. "I feel like I'm capable of doing that, and I'm capable of doing things that people have never done in hurdling yet. I just feel like my passion for track is like no other."
Though her coach thinks college can be a tough transitional period, and one that is hard to judge for the prospects of future success, he thinks Wilson has already shown she is an elite talent and has a real shot at competing for a spot at a future Olympics.
"Even though there is a ton of competition in the women's hurdles, I think that physically and mentally, that Trinity is approaching a point where she can compete with those guys," Taylor says. "I wouldn't bet against her."
In the meantime, Wilson is focused on defending her California high school state championship during her senior year, and then making the U.S. Junior Olympic team. That is, in between the continuous calls and emails from recruiters.