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|ULM signee dreams of running into record books|
Local track star Demetri Hampton, 18, of West Monroe has sped his way into national prominence this summer.
The ULM signee just completed his prep career at West Monroe High School where he was second best in the state in the 400-meter dash. That honor came in the Class 5A meet at LSU this past May with a time of 48 seconds.
Now he is running for Peak Performance Track this summer and earning more accolades as a polished runner.
Hampton has been running with the local track club for two years, yet his track career began in 2004 while competing for West Ridge Middle School in West Monroe.
"I love track, it is my favorite sport," Hampton said. "Running summer track helps me stay in shape and I get to see how I can do against people from all over the country. Peak Performance is a real good program."
Under the tutelage of his Peak Performance coach for the summer, Dennis Groll, the young sprinter has set himself up for a shot at the olympics in the future.
After running a 10.65-second in the 400-meter race at state, Hampton placed third at the southern regional meet recently held in Murfreesboro, Tenn., with a time of 48.73 seconds.
Hampton will now move on with several other Ouachita Parish athletes to the Junior Olympic National Championships to be held July 29-Aug. 1 in Greensboro, N.C.
The top eight competitors from the competition will go on to the Olympic trials and could earn a spot on the 2012 Olympic team headed for London, England.
"I think Demetri has a great future ahead of him," head coach Dennis Groll said. "The one thing that Demetri has to improve on as he gets into the college ranks is just overall strength and conditioning. He has great speed."
After a football and track career that constantly showed him to be one of the fastest athletes on the West Monroe High School campus, Hampton chose to take a track scholarship to attend ULM in the fall.
Hampton shifted around to several positions during his high school career that showed his versatility as a top-tier athlete. He played cornerback, safety, wide receiver, and running back at one time or another for the Rebels football team.
Louisiana Tech, Northwestern State and the University of Connecticut all showed strong interest and offered Hampton a spot on their squads as well.
"I am excited about going to ULM," Hampton said. "It is my favorite sport to run track. My goal is to be a school record holder."
Before college he wants to get his time down so he can compete with the college runners.
Groll knows a thing or two about the ULM program after spending 11 years as an assistant and later head coach of then Northeast Louisiana University track and field.
"Having a structured program," Groll said. "And year around running really will aid him on the college level."