Sunday, December 17, 2017
Colleges

FSU's Locke excels in return to track

TALLAHASSEE — Dentarius Locke prefers to look forward, not in the rearview mirror.

After two frustrating years at Tennessee, and a third in which he sat out as a transfer, Locke is enjoying success at Florida State in the indoor and outdoor track seasons. He ran 6.58 seconds in the 60 meters and 21.02 in the 200 at the ACC indoor championships in February, taking second place in both events, then earned All-America honors as a member of the Seminoles' school-record and bronze medal 800 relay team at the NCAA championships.

On April 6, in his first outdoor meet of the year, the former Chamberlain High standout ran 20.72 in the 200 to take fourth at the Florida Relays. Last weekend he helped FSU's 1,600 and 400 relay teams to times of 3 minutes, 8.24 seconds, and 40.14 seconds, which rank first and second, respectively, in the ACC this year.

"It's been a pretty good season," Locke said. "It seems like every week, I'm running faster. … The more you run, the easier it is to get the rhythm."

It seemed like Locke hadn't been able to find any rhythm until this spring. At Chamberlain, he won back-to-back Class 4A state titles in the 100 and a state title in the 200. But he was forced to sit out the 2010 season at Tennessee, taking a redshirt over an NCAA eligibility matter. Then came a stellar freshman season in which he finished second in the SEC meet in the 100 and tied a school record in the 200.

But Tennessee dismissed its head coach and sprint coach, and Locke began to question how much longer he wanted to stay in Knoxville. He opted to leave and decided to attend FSU, where he was forced to sit out the 2012 season when Tennessee would not grant his release.

"Leaving was a lot of confusion, things going on that I couldn't perform well under," Locke said. "All I wanted to do was run, but it's difficult when you have things about (whether) the coach is coming back and who are they bringing in. That was all confusing."

Locke, 23 and a junior majoring in communications, knew FSU coach Bob Braman and sprint coach Ken Harnden from his high school days. He said Tennessee coaches were persistent in the recruiting process but he also felt a connection with the FSU staff.

So when it was time to choose his next step in life, Locke felt comfortable with FSU.

"It's totally different than being at my previous school," Locke said. "I just feel better here. … Being here is a blessing."

He has found a close friendship with Harnden, who has coached Olympic medalists such as Walter Dix and NCAA champions such as Ngoni Makusha and Maurice Mitchell. Harnden has helped refine Locke's mechanics, teaching him to move his hands — which were going across his body while he strided — to more of a straight line.

Locke favors the 200 over the mad dash of the 60 indoors and the high-profile 100. But Harnden sees that Locke is a talent in any of the events.

"In his mind, (the 200 is) just more time to fix mistakes, not make them," Harnden said. "It's a far more technical race than the 100. I think he enjoys learning those aspects, but I don't think he's better at one than the other."

Locke is running stronger with each race, something that could work in his favor as the season's significant outdoor events approach. He will compete in the 100, 200 and sprint relays in the ACC outdoor championships, which begin Thursday in Raleigh, N.C.

The NCAA East preliminary meet is in May, and if he qualifies for the NCAA championships, they are in June.

The preparations for those meets take place every day in Tallahassee at Mike Long Track. FSU is loaded with sprinters, including Marvin Bracy, who finished a fraction of a second faster than Locke in the 60 final at the ACC indoor meet. Those daily sprints prepare Locke for what is ahead.

"As the coaches tell me, it's like being in an NCAA final every day in practice," Locke said. "When you go out there and run at NCAAs or ACCs or any big meets, it feels like we're at practice."

Comments
No. 22 Gators, No. 19 Seminoles fall in Orange Bowl Classic games

No. 22 Gators, No. 19 Seminoles fall in Orange Bowl Classic games

SUNRISE — Marcquise Reed threw a 75-foot pass to Elijah Thomas for a dunk that put Clemson ahead to stay with 37 seconds left, and the Tigers rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half Saturday to beat No. 22 Florida 71-69 in the Orange Bowl ...
Published: 12/16/17

Tim Tebow wants to help throw you a tailgate wedding (sausages included)

Tim Tebow loves weddings.He apparently also loves football, tailgate parties and a good brat, which might explain why he’s lending his pitchman talents to a contest that ties all four together.In a promotional video, Tebow asks, "What happens when yo...
Published: 12/14/17
River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

Two years ago, Chris Schwarz was mulling over his college choices. The former River Ridge High standout had offers from Valparaiso, Florida Tech and West Florida. West Florida?That one baffled Schwarz, mostly because he knew nothing about the school....
Published: 12/14/17
Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s difficult to call a volleyball program that has been to the Final Four eight times an underdog, especially the way Florida rallied to beat Southern California and punch its latest ticket. Yet of the four schools descending on ...
Published: 12/13/17
FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

Published: 12/10/17
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK — Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, completing a climb from walk-on to one of the most accomplished players in the history of college football. Mayfield won a lopsided vote to become the sixth Okla...
Published: 12/09/17
Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

TAMPA — His team was in Ann Arbor, practicing. He was signing footballs in Tampa.Yet another Jim Harbaugh fun fact."I can’t be in two places at once," Harbaugh said.Not that Harbaugh wouldn’t try it if he could. College football’s firestarter, its bi...
Published: 12/08/17

Gasparilla Bowl journal: Temple’s Collins speaks highly of former boss, new Gator Mullen

ST. PETE BEACH — If anyone has an accurate read on how new coach Dan Mullen will fare at Florida, it’s Temple’s Geoff Collins.Collins worked under Mullen as a Mississippi State assistant from 2011-14. He jumped from there to Gainesville, where he spe...
Published: 12/07/17
No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

GAINESVILLE — Aundre Jackson scored 23, Cameron Krutwig added 14 and Loyola-Chicago stunned No. 5 Florida 63-59 Wednesday, handing the Gators a third consecutive loss. Less than 48 hours after Florida coach Mike White said his team’s performance agai...
Published: 12/06/17
Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

No matter what happens on the field at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, the star of the show will be the bloomin’ onion. Not the deliciously crispy, glistening, 1,900-plus-calorie appetizer served at Outback restaurants, but the person who parades t...
Published: 12/06/17