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Gunning for glory: first, fast

TAMPA- A sprinter could be Riverview's first state champion.

By BRYAN BURNS Times Correspondent
Published May 4, 2007


No male athlete from Riverview High School has ever won a state championship, individual or team.

Dentarius Locke hopes to change all that Saturday.

Locke, a sophomore sprinter on the Sharks' track and field team, placed first at the Class 4A, Region 2 meet in the 100-meter dash, edging Lakeland's Chris Rainey by one one-hundredth of a second to finish in 10.63 seconds. The 17-year-old also ran the anchor leg on Riverview's regional first place 4x100 relay team and qualified in the 200-meter dash, finishing third.

Locke will compete in all three events at tomorrow's Class 4A state track meet in Winter Park and enters as the favorite in the 100 after posting the fastest time among all regional finalists

"I've always been fast, " said Locke, who started racing in elementary school at Egypt Lake Park, where he would compete against students from neighboring parks. "It's something I was born with. I just started working at it, trying to get faster as the years go."

Locke's victory in the 100 at the regional meet was particularly impressive considering he had finished second to Rainey at the district meet and was again behind the University of Florida running back signee after the regional preliminary heat.

In the final, Locke got out of the starting blocks slowly but pulled even with Rainey with about 25 meters to go and edged him at the tape.

"I had a horrible start when I raced Chris, so I've been working on that, " Locke said. "But when I have to catch up to somebody, that's when I'm at my best."

"He really surprised me, " Riverview boys track coach Jason Stokes said. "That last 25 yards, he kicked into a fifth gear and took over that race. ... I'd like to see him do it again because now Rainey's going to know he's coming."

Saturday's 100-meter final could, in all likelihood, come down to a rematch between Locke and Rainey, who posted the second fastest time among all regional finalists.

"He was gunning for me in the final of the 200 at regional, so I know he's going to be ready for states, " Locke said. "This will probably be one of the hardest practices he puts in this year. That's why I'm trying to practice as hard so I can be ready."

This will be Locke's second year at the state meet. As a freshman, he qualified in the 200 after finishing third at the regional with a time of 22.07.

He ran a 22.18-second in the state's preliminaries but failed to qualify for the final and finished 13th.

"It was great being one of a few freshmen to get to go and experience that, " said Locke, who will transfer to Chamberlain High School next school year after recently moving.

Stokes, in his fourth year as a track coach at Riverview and second as the boys head coach, feels Locke's potential is unlimited.

"He had a strong offseason, " Stokes said. "He's not in the weight room as much as he needs to be, but he did enough to improve. His upside is great. He's doing a lot better in the classroom."

Locke's speed could have him gunning for another title on Saturday as well, that of Riverview's fastest athlete ever.

"He's the fastest kid I've ever coached, " Stokes said. (Former Riverview standout athlete) Jahmile Addae supposedly ran a 10.6 flat before, so if Locke can beat that, he'll be Riverview's fastest ever."

[Last modified May 3, 2007, 06:57:36]

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