It isn’t the most captivating video you’ll find on the Internet. It’s shaky, the audio is muffled, and the fact that it was recorded on a mobile device certainly doesn’t add to its visual quality. But if you can resist clicking away for just two minutes and 55 seconds, you wont be disappointed.
The setting takes place at the 2012 Florida High School Track & Field State Championship meet, and the event being watched from the stands is the 4×400 meter relay, the last event of the evening. Just two minutes in, the race already appears to be over. The extensive lead one team holds on the rest of the competition seems evidently too large to overcome.
That is until during the third leg of the race, in the midst of the screaming fans, a spectator utters the words, “We’ve got Uruburu. We’ve got Superman.”
With the leader a good four-to-five seconds ahead of him, Bartram Trail’s Nick Uruburu takes the baton for the last leg of the race; his team is in fifth place. What happens next is sheer magic.
Uruburu takes off like a rocket and vanishes from sight. He doesn’t re-enter the frame until there’s just 50 meters left in the race. In those last 50 meters, Superman shows up.
He hawks down the leader and passes him just before he crosses the finish line, delivering Bartram Trail their first state title in school history.
That video was taken two years ago. Today, Nick Uruburu finds himself at the University of Florida, looking to bring the same kind of success to the Gator Nation. He’s already made an impact, qualifying for both the 2014 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships as an alternate for the men’s 4×400 meter relay team last year as a freshman.
In July, he got to show off his skills at the 2014 USA Junior Championships where the cream-of-the-crop young American athletes compete against each other every year. Uruburu finished 10th in the 400-meter, failing to qualify for the final heat by fractions of a second.
But where does Superman get his powers? Uruburu attributes it all to mental toughness, something his parents taught him at an early age.
“With my parents and just how I was raised,” says Uruburu, “I was always really mentally tough. I put that into everything: into schoolwork, into everyday life, and especially into sports. It’s really important to be mentally tough and I think it’s that extra edge you can have to beat other people out.”
It makes sense. Every day Uruburu runs against some of the top quarter-milers in the country; his teammates. Junior Najee Glass and senior Hugh Graham Jr. both finished in the top eight in the country in the 400-meter last year, and are also members of UF’s 4×400 meter relay team. Good luck competing with those guys on a day-to-day basis if you aren’t mentally tough.
Florida finished second at the 2014 Men’s Outdoor Championships in June. Uruburu, who hopes to help the team tremendously in his second year, says the team will use second place as fuel heading into the upcoming track season.
“It just makes us more hungry for this year to go get that title,” says Uruburu. “Overcoming defeat and using it as motivation to push that much harder, that’s mental toughness in the works.”