There is absolutely no shame in not being as fast as D'Andre Swift, whose surname often reminded SEC defenders of his speediness on the football field last year as they chased the University of Georgia freshman in vain.
When current St. Joseph's Prep senior Miles Green was in middle school, Green was a sprinter who wasn't quite as fast as Swift and others on Kenroy Wallace's AAU track team.
Wallace, now a coach at the Prep, moved the long-legged Green from the 100 and 200 meters to the 400 hurdles.
It is safe to say that everything worked out just fine for Swift and Green.
Saturday morning at the Penn Relays, Green finished third in the 400 hurdles championships in a personal best time of 52.30 seconds.
"It was good to come out here and PR," said Green, who was pleased with his consistency and progress.
The 6-foot-4 Virginia Tech commit opened at 52.5 and before that ran at 52.8 seconds in cold weather.
All of that is a far cry from his foray into the sport, which included a tumble that caused him pause in seventh grade.
"When I first started, I'm not going to lie. I wasn't the best," Green said, smiling. "I'll just put it at that. But I definitely stayed consistent with it. [Wallace] had told me before I would be a [good] hurdler because of my size, my length."
Where a journey begins, however, can often be a mere footnote on the path toward greatness.
"I'm ecstatic," Wallace said. "I'm probably his biggest fan just because I see the work day-to-day that he puts in. A lot of people get to see him run meets, but I see him on the days, the early mornings, the weightlifting sessions. I see what he puts in, and that's why he deserves everything he gets."
Green also anchored the Hawks 4×400 team that won the Catholic League in a record time of 3 minutes, 15.56 seconds, besting last year's Prep squad that finished in 3:18.11. This season's team also featured Salim Epps, Calvin Willie and Bobby Dupell III.
One name may have changed, but the results stayed the same. Cheltenham again won the girls' Tri-State 4×100 relay, in 47.39.
Last year's winning squad — Bria Barnes, Ciani Fleming, Alexis Crosby and Chanel Brissett — finished in an event record time of 45.94.
This season, Ni'Asia Williams replaced Brissett, who graduated and now competes at the University of Southern California.
Winslow's team of Janeya Hammond, Flora Ahiarakwe, Nyiah Perry and Shakira Dancy finished fourth in 48.19.
When you need to run and jump with extreme ferocity and force, a stress fracture in your strongest leg is a problem during competition.
So, on Saturday afternoon, Rustin senior pole vaulter Charles Dever answered succinctly when asked about the key to his second-place finish.
"I'm healthy," he said with a shrug. "That was the one thing I've been working on for the past year, making sure I don't have any stress fractures again.
Last year, a small fracture in his left shin caused considerable pain and led to a less-than-stellar performance at the Relays.
"Destroyed me last year," he said. "I couldn't practice at all. Made it a little hard to jump.
On his third and final attempt at 16 feet, 3/4 inches, the last height he cleared, Dever's body clipped the bar, and he watched it wobble as he fell helplessly to the mat.
"I did feel myself hitting it," he said, "which I was not a fan of because you just watch it wiggle. It stayed on, fortunately. It's terrifying."
Dever said he will continue his track career at either Villanova or the U.S. Naval Academy next year, and he hopes to make a decision soon.
Delsea senior triple jumper Khaliel Burnett was at the Relays as a spectator last season when his cousin competed on the Delsea girls' relay teams.
Saturday afternoon, however, was Burnett's turn to shine. The only problem was his fire burned a little too early, or too late depending on your circadian rhythm.
Sleep was hard to come by Friday night, Burnett said, and not even NyQuil could help him get some Zs.
His fourth-place finish — in his first time competing at Franklin Field — is nothing to sneeze at, but Burnett wanted to do better.
"I didn't get enough sleep last night," he said with a smile.
Later, he added: "I was trying to force myself to fall asleep."
The result, he said, was that his sprints down the runway were too tight and powerful, lacking the looseness that would help build more speed, which could help him spring forth freely. It was a product of nervousness, he said.
On Saturday, he finished at 49-1 3/4 feet, an improvement up from the 48-9 1/2 he jumped at the Meet of Champions in June.
There is no shame, however, in reaching the finals of an event on the most raucous of its days.
Some of Burnett's jumps were sandwiched between the USA vs. the World men's and women's events between the professionals, whose fans were electrified with each baton pass.
"I knew I could have done better, but it's OK to come in fourth," he said with a shrug.
"It felt good," he added, "especially the crowd. The crowd made it better, but I wish I would have come with a better performance."
Caleb Johnson, a junior at Germantown Academy, comes from quality pole vaulting stock.
His grandfather, Joseph Johnson, was the first African American pole vaulter to win the City championships in 1954, Patriots track coach Peter Jennings said in an email.
Saturday afternoon, Caleb Johnson continued to pave his own way, finishing third in the pole vault at 15-9.
"He got me into the pole vault," Caleb said of his grandfather, who he said was in attendance on Saturday. "He's been my biggest supporter. I text him after every meet."