Lakewood's Dermillo Wise will compete in four events at Friday's Class 3A state meet.
By BOB PUTNAM
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 10, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- The eyes cannot fix on Dermillo Wise with just one look.
He is among the tallest and loudest on the track, the Lakewood junior with the relentless spirit.
Did you see him?
No, too late. Now he's over there in the triple jump pit, leaping past opponents.
No, you must look quicker. Now he's at the hurdles, sprinting and leaping to another victory.
Missed him again?
Now he's on the victory stand, holding the hardware for another individual title, another team championship.
Wise is everywhere on the track, the do-it-all leader who is competing in four events -- the long jump, triple jump and 100 and 300 hurdles -- at the Class 3A state meet Friday at Coral Springs High.
In the past two weeks, Wise has helped Lakewood win district and regional titles. At regionals, Wise won the triple jump and 300 hurdles and was runner-up in the 100 hurdles and long jump.
He will compete in the most events for the Spartans and has the best shot of placing, possibly winning, at state.
"I think I'll play a big role in helping the team," Wise said. "I'm motivated."
For most, being in so many events would be tiresome. Not Wise.
"It's intense, inspirational, beautiful just being out there," Wise said.
He does so much on the track partly because he finally can.
A transfer from St. Petersburg High, Wise had to sit out last season to be eligible.
"(St. Petersburg) wasn't a good fit for me," Wise said. "I had to go somewhere else. But it was hard sitting out. I never had to do that before."
Wise watched from the sidelines during his sophomore season and practiced with the Lightning Bolt Track Club, which he has been a part of the past seven years.
Now he's making up for lost time.
"I'm working extra hard in practice preparing for this week," Wise said.
"I'm attacking the hurdles and working on my jumps. I think I can do very well."