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Running back

Junior sprinter breezes through district, area

Steven Tibbetts

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Senior Alex Julian passes junior Deron Gage the baton during the 4 by 100-meter relay at area on April 19. The relay team, which includes Julian, Gage, Billy Williams and Tyrell Washington, placed fifth. Photo by Bodhi Tripathi.

About four months ago, junior running back Deron Gage was taking hand-offs on the football field, averaging about 12 yards a carry. Now, Gage has traded the football for the baton, competing in the 100- and 200-meter relays for the track team.

Gage didn’t start running track until high school and he only started to prepare for football during the offseason. Gage says that running on the track rather than the football field was hard to get used to at first, but that he is starting to make the transition.

“I started running track freshman year,” Gage said. “At first it was just so I could get faster for football, but I started to really like it. I’m starting to get used to it and get comfortable with it.”

As Gage has grown more comfortable with track, his performance in his events has improved. Gage has already become one of the fastest runners on the team in the short distance events; the 100 and 200 meters and the relays. Gage’s love for short-distance racing is also paired with an admiration for the world-record holder in the 100 and 200 meters, Usain Bolt.

“Everyone looks up to Usain Bolt,” Gage said. “He is amazing. I love him.”

Gage put his speed to the test during the District 26-5A track meet on April 4 and 5. Gage competed in three events, the maximum number of running events each athlete is allowed to enter. He ran the 200-meter dash, the anchor leg of the 4 by 200-meter relay with teammates senior Alex Julian and juniors Julian Rosales and Billy Williams, and the second leg of the 4 by 100-meter relay with Julian, Williams, and senior Tyrell Washington. To advance to the area meet in each event, Gage and the relay teams had to finish in the top four. Gage accomplished that task by ending up in the top three places in each event with a second-place finish in the 4 by 100-meter relay for the second straight year, third in the 4 by 200, in which Gage narrowly beat out both the Crockett and Austin High anchor legs by under a second, and third in the 200-meter dash, Gage’s favorite event, with a time of 23.18, which Gage was happy with considering the tough conditions at the meet.

“We had resistance with the winds so [my 200 meters] was pretty good,” Gage said.

After districts, Gage began looking ahead and preparing for the area meet on April 19 and 20, where again he needed top-four finishes to advance to the regional round in each event.

“I’m just ready to go out, put in work for these two weeks that we have practice and hopefully qualify for regionals,” Gage said after the district meet.

And he did. Gage finished fourth in the 200 meter dash at area with a personal record 22.75.

“[Advancing] to regional is a big accomplishment for me because last year, I didn’t get to run in regional or area, so I feel that I’ve been doing way better since last year,” Gage said. “I think senior year will be an amazing year for me.”

Despite his success in track this season, Gage finds joy in other things about track than just getting good results in his races.

“I like being out there with my friends,” Gage said. “Also, we miss school sometimes. It’s just a fun atmosphere and I love it.”

And even though Gage has achieved a lot this season in track, qualifying for area in all three of his events and qualifying for regionals, Gage says his biggest achievement during his track career goes beyond the success he has found during competition.

“Making a tighter bond with my friends [has been my biggest achievement], because we have fun out there when we have time to ourselves to relax and get ready for the events, and it brings us closer as a team also,” Gage said.

Even though track season isn’t over, Gage is already thinking about next year’s football season. He expects to have another good year despite the challenges that will come with having mostly new teammates on varsity, a new coach and a new district.

“We have a lot of doubters since a lot of our seniors left, but as long as we work hard in practice [and] listen to the coaches, I think we will be good,” Gage said. “I know we will.”

We have a lot of doubters since a lot of our seniors left, but as long as we work hard in practice [and] listen to the coaches, I think we will be good.”

— Junior Deron Gage

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2 Responses to “Running back”

  1. Aidan Golliher on April 26th, 2018 11:41 am

    Great story about an under appreciated sport. Track can always end up making a solid story and this was one since you focused on one guy and how he sees track.

  2. hannah on May 1st, 2018 6:11 pm

    I really like how we can see his take on the difference playing for football and track.

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