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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Sports

Pros ‘eye-opening experience’ for Amere Lattin


Amere Lattin played a crucial role in several of the American Athletic Conference championships the program has won in recent years. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Amere Lattin played a crucial role in several of the American Athletic Conference championships the program has won in recent years. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

One month track and field athletes are running the 400-meter hurdles in Hungary and London, the next they’re winning a silver medal in the event at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

“It has been an eye-opening experience,” said Amere Lattin, who has done just that since departing Houston to join the ranks of some of Earth’s fastest people. “It has allowed me to grow, learn from my mistakes, along with seeing the world and competing with the world’s finest athletes.”

But Lattin’s pursuit of greatness on the track was not always cut and dried. Before solidifying his path in the sport with the Cougars, the product of suburban Houston had another sport in mind until track and field caught his attention.

“I was a football guy, so I thought the NFL was going to be my way out,” Lattin said. “But I worked day in and day out to just get to this point where track and field became my bread and butter.”

Lattin saw instant success after settling on track and field and committing to UH. In 2015-16, his freshman year with the Cougars, the then-19-year-old was integral in both Houston’s American Athletic Conference titles.

The former Cougar added points after a 7.98 60-meter hurdles time at the indoor meet and tied the outdoor meet record in the 110-meter hurdles after taking the gold in 13.59 seconds.

Even then, Lattin, 22, could have told you where he’d be in 2019.

“I’m just a young kid out of Missouri City, Texas chasing a dream,” Lattin said. “If I said I never pictured this I would be lying. It’s a dream come true; I’m doing what I love.”

Since his transition from college, one of the highlights of Lattin’s young career was one of the first challenges he faced as a pro: the USA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

“It was the first time I ran three rounds with the top guys, and it was also the first time I had to change to improve every round,” Lattin said. “I’m still learning this race, and I have so much improvement left.”

Even with the challenge and room for improvement, the 2019 AAC Co-Track Athlete of the Year took home bronze in the 400-meter hurdles after a 48.66 mark.

Yeah, being the third-best 400-meter hurdler in the nation is cool and all, but Lattin knows there is a medal that sits high above the rest. And he wants it.

“Every track and field athlete wants to gain an Olympic gold medal,” Lattin said. “That’s the end goal, along with a world record. That’s what I expect to gain as well. Track and field is a rewards sport when you put in the work.”

Much of the success and ambition Latin carries attributed to two of the biggest names in track and field: head coach Leroy Burrell and assistant coach Carl Lewis.

“My coaches were with me 110 percent of the way,” Lattin said. “I did things the right way. I followed the vision that was put in place the day I was recruited. Complete my NCAA eligibility, obtain my bachelor’s degree and be the best hurdler in the world. I’m doing just that.”

In other words, he’s just getting started.

“My success has just begun,” Lattin said. “NCAA was a warm up.”

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