Nothing middling about Middleton

Published 10:58 pm Saturday, February 14, 2015

Nansemond River High School senior Kadeem Middleton has shown promise in the sport of track and field for a while, but now he is really beginning to stand out.

With an excellent performance in the 500-meter dash in a conference meet on Feb. 4, he improved his standing not only in the state, but also in the nation.



And in the city, it led to his becoming the Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week.

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Middleton said he normally hangs with the pack in the 500 before accelerating in the last 200 meters, but not on Feb. 4.

“This time, I guess you could say I took a risk,” he said. “I just went out and just stayed in front and tried to maintain my form.”

He won the race with a personal record time of 1:06.45. Two days later, his coach at Nansemond River, Justin Byron, noted that this season, Middleton’s time ranked No. 19 in the nation, No. 10 in all of Virginia and No. 1 in the Group 4A classification.

“I was impressed at what I could actually do,” Middleton said.

Byron said, “The beauty of our sport is that it’s just completely quantitative, and it’s all about the numbers, and so when you put up a run that ranks you top 20 in the nation, that’s something that you have to be excited about.”

And the way Middleton took command of the race immediately on Feb. 4 put a smile on Byron’s face.

“That’s the biggest thing that we’ve been waiting for him to do,” the coach said. “I knew he had it in him, but he hadn’t done it yet.”

Byron added that is the type of run that gets the attention of college coaches, and “that’s the type of run that increases your scholarship money.”

And such things are definitely on Middleton’s mind.

“I really want to be an attorney,” he said, seeing his track success as a means of helping him toward that ultimate goal.

He already has interest from some schools within the state like George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia. If his current ascent continues, interest will likely start to come from elsewhere in the country.

Recalling how he got into the sport, Middleton said his parents had wanted him to run track and his sister, former Nansemond River standout Kieaira Middleton, showed him what the family genes could do.

He said he thought, “We’ve got the same make-up, so I probably can do a little something out there.”

He came to enjoy the sport and has participated in track and field for four years now.

What motivates him to give his all during each meet is God and family.

“My family’s not just my immediate family, it’s my track family,” he said. “I think genuinely we have a family on the team.”

He praised the support system created by parents of team members at meets.

“Everybody’s there rooting for you, making sure you do your best,” he said.

And Middleton’s best is getting better.