Clermont, FL —
He carries a 3.9 GPA, is a star football player being recruited by top schools in the SEC and now East Ridge junior Lavonte Valentine can call himself a state champion.
His roots are in South Carolina, his school in Clermont and his young legacy is now in Bradenton.
“Waking up my hamstring was kinda hurting but I had my coach rub me out before I went to the track and I warmed up for about three minutes light jog, I took ibuprofen, icy hot to get ready for the race,” East Ridge junior sprinter Valentine described of race day.
And that did the trick as Valentine’s hamstring had been bothering him for the past three weeks.
“What Valentine did was show them hey guys I’m going to carry this torch for everybody who’s hurt,” Knights track coach Larry Fergusan said. “It was a team effort of guys talking to him trying to motivate him, letting him know ‘hey man, you can do this and I think he went out there and got it not just for himself but for his other team mates as well.”
After barely escaping the district meet it was Valentine who went on to win regionals and then more importantly put together a stellar performance at the state meet to stun everybody.
“Well-being in lane two, everybody thought 3-4-5 was like the fastest in the middle of the track but I surprised everybody,” Valentine said.
The 6’0 190lb sprinter clocked in at 10.61 seconds to win gold in the 4A-100 meter dash—earning his first ever state championship.
“I pushed myself a lot this year ,” Valentine added. “I see how strong I was as a person and like my uncle was saying it was mental –it wasn’t physically –because I waas physically ready just had to be mentally ready. “
Valentine will continue to train with his uncle Gary Evans this summer—who is an Olympic track coach—and because the times he’s recorded this season he has earned invites to run at the Golden South Classic, New Balance Nationals and Brooks PR Track invitational where he will go up against the best prep sprinters in the nation.