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

WINTER PARK — Chamberlain senior 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 at Showalter Field, there was a momentary sense of disappointment.

"When I crossed the finish line, it first said 10.40," Locke said of crossing the line for the 100-meter dash. "Then I looked back again and saw the real time. It happened on the 200, too."

Another glance told Locke 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 make a name for himself. By the end of the night, his name was the only one anybody 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 seconds in the 100 lowered 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 the 200 meter preliminary — he would later win the final with a 20.70 — beat the time of two-time Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix, who ran a 20.62 in 2004 for Coral Springs.

"That's just crazy," Locke said. "Beating 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."

East Lake senior Leah Fisher had also been waiting for this moment —- since last year.

Fisher had to cut her season short after the district meet her junior year because of a hamstring injury. But at Saturday's state meet, she had an opportunity to end her high school career on her own terms.

And so she left Showalter Field with a bronze medal, finishing third in the girls long jump. She wasn't able to top her top-seeded mark of 18 feet, 4 inches, but her mark of 17 feet, 93/4 inches distinguished her in a tight competition in which third and sixth place were separated by just 2½ inches.

"To be able to come back and complete my four years by placing third in the state was great," Fisher said. "It was as tough as I expected."

She was Pinellas County's only top-three finisher. Countryside's Anthony Lombardo placed fifth in the boys pole vault (13 feet, 6 inches) and the Cougars' 4x800 relay of Kosta Fotopolous, Jake Hermann, Matthew Worner and Zachary Christienson also placed fifth (8 minutes, 1.81 seconds) in a race won by Sickles in a photo finish.

Among Pasco County finishers, Mitchell's Caitlyn Young was 10th in the girls high jump, the North Suncoast's only top-10 finisher.

Class 4A state track meet: Chamberlain sprinter Dentarius Locke sets state meet records in the 100 and 200 meters 05/09/09 [Last modified: Sunday, May 10, 2009 12:17am]
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