Brandon Singleton knew he was up against tough competition when he lined up in the state track and field championships at Louisiana State University in mid-May.
Singleton has been participating in track and field since the age of 9 when he joined the New Orleans chapter of Save a Child Through Sports (SACS), and had been waiting for a shot at the state championship.
The year prior, Tyler Hughes, a senior from Dutchtown, finished in third place edging Singleton, who finished fourth. However, only a few weeks earlier the Hahnville junior had beaten Hughes at the Mobile Meet of Champions. Now, Hughes was in the lane directly to his left.
Going into the 110-meter hurdles, Singleton was the favorite, but when the starting pistol fired he slipped off the starting blocks just slightly and was unable to recover in the unforgiving race.
“I don’t want to make any excuses, but I slipped off the blocks on the 110 and got a bad start and (Hughes) beat me. I still ended up with 13.91,” he said.
Hughes finished with a time of 13.83 seconds, which was the second-best recorded time in the nation this year in the 110-meter hurdles, while Singleton’s time was good for fifth best.
Still, Singleton felt that one mistake had cost him the championship. With one event remaining, he took that feeling into the 300-meter hurdles.
“I was kind of upset after that race and the whole time I was thinking in my mind that I wanted to bounce back in the 300 hurdles and win that race and finish strong, and that is what I wound up doing,” Singleton said.
Singleton got off to a good start in the event and led the pack, including Hughes, the entire way. He finished the race in a state-record time of 37.43 seconds.
Singleton’s father, former NFL wide receiver Nate Singleton, said he could see his son’s frustration at coming in second in the 110-meter event. Nate said he was very pleased with his son’s poise in the face of adversity.
“One compliment I would give him is that in the moment nothing rattles him,” he said. “I am just proud of him.”
Although the Hahnville track team does not have a coach devoted to hurdles, Singleton said he was very thankful to head track coach John Lambert as well as the help he received from SACS track and field coach Chris Lewis.
“Coach Lambert helped me out a lot with practices and keeping me on the right track and staying on me. (Coach) Lewis has been my longtime hurdle coach since I was 10 years old. I needed that little extra help from him,” Singleton said. “He helped me with technique so I could be the best I could be for state.”
Despite his obvious ability as a hurdler, Singleton considers his first sport to be football. After winning the track championship, he received a welcome surprise.
“A few days after I got a letter sent from LSU to me in the mail from (head football coach) Les Miles. My main sport is football and he congratulated me on winning the state championship,” Singleton said.
Although he is currently preparing for the upcoming football season, Singleton is still determined to come back next year and take home the win in the 110-meter event.
“I am looking forward to mostly just staying healthy right now. If I can do that, next year will be a good year for me.,” he said. “My goal is to win both events.”