JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Caden Ciul is a bright, polite eighth-grader at Perimeter School in Johns Creek, but once he puts running shoes on, all you will do on the track is eat his dust.
The 14-year-old has posted the fastest time of any eighth-grader in the 300-meter hurdles in the nation and has not lost in that race this season on the Perimeter School track team. He is 8-0 with two weeks left in the season.
His track coach Matt Luchenbill said Ciul has been among the top three hurdlers all season. A website that collects all the times submitted by schools across the country has had him there all year. In a recent meet, he posted the best time yet for 2014.
Luchenbill says he sees two reasons why Ciul is so good in the 300-meter hurdles.
“First, he is a naturally gifted athlete. And he really enjoys the event. The second reason is you can see he wants it. You can see in that last 100 yards when they’ve cleared the last hurdle and it is just a sprint. Caden accelerates in that last 100,” Luchenbill said.
“He’s a competitor who wants to be good,” he said. “And he loves doing it.”
Ciul admits he “does like the event a lot.” He also competes in the 100-meter hurdles, the 4-x-100-meter relay, the 4-x-400-meter and the triple jump.
His school competes in the North Atlanta Metro League and has been competing in track for three years. Ciul also competes in AAU track and USATF.
“What I like best is I get to meet a lot of new friends and go to schools and run against other people. I do like the competition,” Ciul said.
Luchenbill agreed Caden likes to compete.
“I think it’s his drive – his drive to be good and succeed,” Luchenbill said. “He finds a joy and a pleasure in it.”
Ciul is only 14, but he would like to run for a program in college. Luchenbill said he thinks he has a chance “to go somewhere big.”
Ciul’s dad went to Auburn, which has a good track program. He also likes Florida and Texas A&M.
All of that is in the future, with many more races to go.
But today – for right now – there is no eighth-grader faster in the 300-meter hurdles than Caden Ciul. And that’s pretty good.