Daughtrey hurdles into history

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lakeland High School’s Darren Daughtrey finished his senior year of track making his way into the school’s record books.

The recent Lakeland graduate won the 3A state championship in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.53. During the state meet, he also placed third in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 39.83.

How does one become a 3A state champion in hurdles? For Daughtrey, first he gets into a zone by listening to music. After a jam session, he clears his head. He then envisions himself running his particular event. From there, he leaves it all on the track for that moment, knowing that he made his mark.

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Daughtrey feels that he has left his mark for Lakeland athletics. This season was his second year running track for the school, and he credits coach Brian Rountree for pushing him to achieve what he has done. As a junior, Daughtrey was initially just playing football until Rountree approached him about running track. He encouraged Daughtrey to come out for track after the football season.

“He told me could show me some things,” Daughtrey said. “I’m thankful he pulled me out there, and I was able to do some good things.”

Daughtrey headed to the track not knowing what to expect. He progressed through his junior season to then have a remarkable senior season. The hurdler couldn’t pick one thing that his coach taught him that stuck with him, because he said everything he’s been taught will stick with him.

During the indoor season in the winter, Daughtrey broke the Boo Williams Sportsplex record for the fastest 55-meter hurdle. He ran a time of 7.56. When he got the news, Daughtrey couldn’t stop smiling. It is a record that appears unbreakable, because that particular meet will not be held anymore.

For his two-year track career at Lakeland, Daughtrey is the record holder for the 55-meter hurdles and state champion for 110-meter hurdles. He also ran a leg on the 4×400 state championship team for Lakeland.

“I felt like I accomplished a lot, really,” he said. “I honestly wish I had one more year. Coming into this year, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Coach Rountree pushed me every day to win state titles and break records. If I could get one more year, I would certainly take advantage of it.”

Daughtrey will take some time off before deciding what he will like to do with his future. In the meantime, he can come back to Lakeland and look at the state champion banner.

“I know I can look at that wall and see my name there,” he said. “I accomplished things maybe a lot of people can’t do.”