Freshman Errol Nolan pictured himself playing wide receiver in college, beating cornerbacks for long receptions and touchdowns.
Instead, Nolan is placing his name in the record books after notching the fourth-best indoor 60-meter time and fifth-best indoor 200-meter time in UH history earlier this season.
Nolan, 18, is the youngest member of the track and field team and a mechanical engineering technology major. He started out playing football at Lamar Consolidated, and running track was not high on his list of priorities.
In 2007, his Mustangs won the 4A state championship in football. To this day, Nolan proudly wears his gleaming state championship ring.
Nolan hoped to be courted by schools to play football, but no one came calling.
“I didn’t get recruited,” Nolan said. “My highlight tape was a minute long.”
Despite not realizing his dream of playing college football, Nolan’s competitive spirit led him to discover he had more to offer as an athlete. In his senior year of high school, he decided to give track a more spirited effort than he did before.
“I started running sophomore year (in high school) but I was losing all my races,” Nolan said. “Until senior year — I decided to take it more seriously.”
That increased focus toward track eventually earned Nolan a victory in the UIL Track Championships in June 2009. Nolan crossed the finish line with a personal-best of 46.9 seconds in the open 400-meter.
After this performance, other schools offered Nolan a scholarship, but he had already signed with UH months earlier. Nolan ran at UH in 2007 in the Carl Lewis Indoor Open, which turned him on to the school.
“I liked the campus when I came here,” Nolan said. “That’s when I fell in love with the school.”
Nolan, who is featured on the 4×400-meter relay, says his favorite events are the open 200-meter and 400-meter. His goal for the remainder of the indoor season is to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 12 in Fayetteville, Ark.
But Nolan’s aspirations as a runner do not stop at the college level. He hopes to one day run professionally after concluding his collegiate career at UH. He even has Olympic glory in his sights.
“I want to make the Jamaican Olympic team,” he said. “Both my parents are Jamaican.”
Nolan says he doesn’t look up to other athletes for motivation. Instead, he is driven by his adversaries on the track.
“The only athletes I’m inspired by is anybody who is ranked ahead of me,” Nolan said.