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Class 4A state track: Chamberlain sprinter Dentarius Locke sets state meet records in the 100 and 200 meters

WINTER PARK — Dentarius Locke was so fast at the FHSAA Class 4A state track meet Saturday that not even the race clock could keep pace with him.

Before Locke raced into the history books with a sprinting performance that awed the crowd that packed the bleachers of Showalter Field, there was a momentary sense of disappointment.

"When I crossed the finish line, it first said 10.40," Locke said of his first look at his time in the 100-meter final. "Then I looked back again. It happened on the 200, too."

Another glance at the scoreboard revealed the truth. The Tennessee-bound senior set state meet records in the 100 and 200 meters, establishing himself as the state's new fastest man.

Locke came to the state track meet looking to put his name out on the national scene. By the end of the night, he was all anyone was talking about.

"I put my name out there in front of the state and hopefully the nation," Locke said.

But it is who Locke passed en route to history that made his night more impressive. His 10.32-second run in the 100 beat the record of Jeff Demps, the current Gators football player who ran a 10.37 two years ago as a senior at Groveland South Lake. And Locke's 20.58 in a 200-meter preliminary — he would later win the final with a 20.70 — beat two-time Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix, who ran a 20.62 in 2004 for Coral Springs.

"That's just crazy," Locke said. "Walter Dix? He just won two medals in the Olympics. It really gives me confidence going forward and really makes me think about what could be possible in the next two or three years."

Locke won two of five Class 4A state titles won by Hillsborough County teams. Durant senior John Mitchell, a UF recruit, won the 800 in 1 minute, 52.93 seconds. Gaither senior Morgan Scherschel, who is also headed to Florida, won the girls pole vault by clearing 11 feet, 7 inches.

"To work so hard and have it pay off is amazing," Scherschel said. "While my friends were out partying on Friday night, I'd be in bed resting to get up at 7:30 for workouts in Orlando. Sometimes your legs would feel like noodles. I knew this could happen."

Sickles' 4x800 relay also won state gold, edging second-place Flagler Palm Coast by just 0.16 of a second.

The Gyphons' team of senior Marc DeJute, senior Dan Wehunt, junior Julian Gines and senior Derek Wehunt finished in 7:46.87. The first four teams finished in less than four minutes. Countryside placed fifth with an 8:01.81, the top time in its heat.

Derek Wehunt, who ran the anchor of the state champ relay, was a favorite in the 3,200 meters, but he pulled out of the race with blisters on the balls of his toes.

"I really just couldn't do what I wanted to," Wehunt said. "I couldn't get on my toes. I'm happy with (the 4x800 finish). We set a new school record, so I'm happy with that."

Dan Wehunt finished third behind Mitchell in the 800, and Chamberlain's Mark Parrish gritted out a fourth-place finish in the 3,200.

Class 4A state track: Chamberlain sprinter Dentarius Locke sets state meet records in the 100 and 200 meters 05/09/09 [Last modified: Sunday, May 10, 2009 7:28am]
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