Wharton's muscular Dwight Ellick went from the fastest in New York to the fastest in Florida.
By SCOTT PURKS
© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 17, 2001
TAMPA -- Gerald Ellick would go into the weight room at his house in Syracuse and lift and lift and lift.
Dwight Ellick would watch the stress, strain and, ultimately, the results: gigantic, bulging muscles.
So looking back, Dwight Ellick said, it was never in question. He was going to work out and get as strong as possible; just like dad.
Ellick said he was about 6 when he started lifting in his father's weight room. From there, it became a way of life; almost like waking up in the morning.
Muscles grew as expected, and through time he also discovered he had a gift. No one could beat him in a foot race.
He beat kids on playgrounds, then in junior high, then in high school, where last year he won the New York state 100- and 200-meter titles. This year, he moved to Florida, and although many didn't believe this new kid from New York could hang with the Florida boys, Ellick proved he was up to the task.
At a raucous, packed pro-South Florida crowd in Coral Springs in May, Ellick won the Class 4A state titles in the 100 (10.6 seconds) and 200 (21.35), times that made him the fastest runner in any classification.
Not long after winning those races, Ellick capped his high school career by anchoring his team's 4x400 relay, taking the baton in a distant seventh but finishing third. His split was 46.7.
Ellick's efforts helped lift Wharton to fifth place with 40 points, 14 behind first-place Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson.
In the end, Ellick lost only one individual race all year, placing second in the 100 at the Florida Relays. So how did he sustain his level of excellence?
Wharton coach David Watson said it's not hard to figure out.
"From the moment Dwight came here, he was training, running, lifting weights," Watson said. "Always, always lifting those weights, getting stronger and stronger.
"He just came in and jumped in front of everyone and let everyone grab his shirttail. And then he dragged everyone along. He was a great leader."
A few days ago, Ellick had his picture taken for the All-Suncoast athlete of the year honor, one he can put alongside the award for the Florida Dairy Farmers Association state's track athlete of the year. He was more muscled than ever, ripped through his shoulders, back, stomach, arms and legs.
That's because since the season ended, Ellick has been in the gym every morning at 5:30 following a strict lifting regimen laid down by Notre Dame, where he will play football as a defensive back next season.
Ellick said the new workouts have added 4 pounds of muscle to his frame in less than a month. The Notre Dame workout, however, is not enough for him.
From the gym, he drives to Pepin Rood Stadium in downtown Tampa, where he works out with Florida receiver Reche Caldwell for 11/2 hours. After that, he goes home, showers and drives to his job at a movie theatre, where he works for eight hours.
None of this, however, seems extraordinary to Ellick. To him, not working out and not trying to be your best would be a waste of time.
"If I didn't work hard, then the the guys I'm competing against might get ahead of me," Ellick said. "So I always work hard and do the workouts that I'm supposed to do. Always."
Then he added a little perspective. "To be the best doesn't mean everything to me, but it's a goal," he said.
"It's a goal I will always strive to reach."
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Dwight Ellick, Wharton
COACH OF THE YEAR: David Watson, Wharton
STUART CARRICO, Wharton, Sr.: Ran 800 in 1:57.41; versatile contributor.
BRUCE CHAPMAN, King, Jr.: Third at state in 800.
DWIGHT ELLICK, Wharton, Sr.: State champion in 100 and 200. JOHN GILMORE, River Ridge, Sr.: Times Pasco County athlete of the year.
ALEX HARRIS, Wharton, Sr.: High jumped 6-10; triple jumped 47-3/4.
GARRETT JOHNSON, Tampa Baptist, Jr.: State champ in shot put; state runner-up in discus. RICK MILLER, Citrus, Sr.: Runner-up in 800 at state. DEREK PAKUS, Seminole, Jr.: Third at state in pole vault.
ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ, Boca Ciega, Jr.: Second at state in high jump. ROLF STEIER, Berkeley Prep, Jr.: State champion in 1,600 and 3,200. RUSS TYSON, Northeast, Sr.: Won state title in shot put.
DERMILLO WISE, Lakewood, Jr.: 24-71/2 long jump was second longest in nation. KEVIN MARION, Dixie Hollins, So.: 24-1 long jump placed fifth at state. REED RUDGE, Keswick Christian, Sr.: Won long jump state title; third at state in triple jump.
4x100 -- Gibbs, 42.9
4x400 -- Wharton, 3:15.83
4x800 -- St. Petersburg Catholic, 8:04.29
DANNY BAUER, Largo, Sr.: Ran 3,200 in 9:42.81.
ADAM BUTCHER, Admiral Farragut, Sr.: Fourth at state in discus.
JOSH COTTON, Wharton, So.: Ninth at state in 400.
TONY CORMIER, St. Petersburg Catholic, So.: Ran 1,600 in 4:23.21. SEAN DIXON, Chamberlain, So.: Fifth at state in 400. TAI TAI EGUN, Jesuit, Jr.: Second at state in triple jump. TERRANCE McKENNON, Leto, Sr.: Ran 100 hurdles in 14.52; ran 300 hurdles in 40.5. JON MILLER, Bloomingdale, Jr.: Pole vaulted 14-1. MARTEL MOTT, Lakewood, So.: Eighth at state in 100. CHRIS DAVIS, St. Petersburg Catholic, Jr.: Long jumped 23-111/2.
KEVIN LYONS, Clearwater Central Catholic, So.: Fifth at state in 3,200.
TONY LYONS, Citrus, So.: Sixth at state in 3,200.
KEITH WATTS, Armwood, Sr.: Fourth at state in discus.
4x100 -- Boca Ciega, 43.76
4x400 -- King, 3:26.01
4x800 -- Wharton, 8:05.6
HONORABLE MENTION: Armwood -- Charles Sallett; Bloomingdale -- Ray Gossage; Boca Ciega -- Wilbur Hunter, Richard Ramos; Brandon -- Demetric Coakley; Citrus -- Jeremy Hensley, C.J. Bryant; East Lake -- Tyler Morton, Ken Wiggins; Dunedin -- Ctesius Jackson; Jesuit -- Eric Papp, Tim Hyer, Eric Ballotto, Colin Strickland; King -- Brandon Heard, Jamal DuParl; Land O'Lakes: Godfrey Pestana, Scott Habershaw; Largo -- Arsenio Corbin; Leto -- Jon Shepherd; Pasco: Keymo Pearson; Riverhills Christian -- Julius Smith; Ridgewood: Jim Vitale; River Ridge: Mike Brock, Bryan Gibson; Robinson -- Reshard Hicks; Seven Rivers Christian -- Shawn Allen; Shorecrest -- Justin Stempuzis; Sickles -- Adam Sisler; St. Petersburg -- Jermey Biandudi; St. Petersburg Catholic -- Matt Murdock, Sam Secord, Ben Shimko; Wharton -- Steve Carrico, Andrew Fulton.