By JERRY BYRD JR., Journal Sports
Last year, it was Captain Shreve’s Marquez “Macho” Stevenson who burst on the local track and field scene and sprinted his way to the top of the Caddo-Bossier all-time 400 meter list as a sophomore.
This year, there is another super sophomore – Huntington’s Demetria Harris – who has used her first indoor track and field season to get a jump on the competition.
Both Harris and Stevenson participated in the LSU Last Chance Qualifier in Baton Rouge on Saturday. Both came away with performances which rank them among the nation’s best.
Harris finished third in the long jump with an effort of 17-9, second in the 60 hurdles (9.11), and tied for eighth place in the 60 meters (8.02).
The youngster Harris continues to impress her Huntington sprint coach LeRonn Burris.
“The thing that impresses me the most is how she battled in the finals of the long jump to
make the podium,” Burris said. “And she finished second in the 60 hurdles from the outside lane. It speaks to her willingness to fight when she is down.”
Burris said that Harris was excited when she was told the Huntington track and field team was going to participate during the indoor season. A year ago, the Raiders decided to hold off and wait until the outdoor season.
Harris, whose 60 meter hurdles best is tied for No. 36 in the nation, has wasted no time in making her mark.
“I’m having fun with it,” Harris said. “It’s enjoyable.”
That was the secret to her success in the long jump on Saturday when she barely made the finals as a No. 7 seed. She finished in third and on the podium at the Carl Maddox Fieldhouse.
“I just took my time, relaxed, and had fun jumping,” Harris said.
Shreve’s Stevenson, who won the LSU Last Chance with a 49.17, is having fun enjoying his first indoor season as well, but looking forward to improving.
“This is good,” Stevenson said of his indoor campaign thus far. “But I know I can do better. I am just getting started.”
Stevenson said he is working on his core and strengthening his leg muscles to see the kind of improvement he wants.
Last year, as a super sophomore himself, Stevenson finished third in the LHSAA Outdoor meet with a 48.57, but it is what he did Aug. 7 at the AAU Junior Olympics in Houston, running well over a second faster (46.85) and placing second to the returning national champion which drew interest from college programs the likes of Baylor.
Stevenson has a plan for improvement.
“I want to work on my core,” Stevenson said. “I want to keep it tight when I run, and I also need to strengthen my leg muscles.”
Stevenson’s 400 meter time is No. 29 in the nation.
Both Harris and Stevenson will look to improve when the indoor season concludes on Feb. 19 at the LHSAA Indoor Championships.
Photo by GAVEN HAMMOND