May 12, 2015 at 2:09PM
For the past two years Interlake Saints football player De'Jhion Parrish was the fastest man on the gridiron for the majority of his games.
In his first-ever season competing in high school track and field, things haven't changed much for Interlake's speedster. Parrish, who clocked a 10.94 electronic time in the 100-meter dash in early April, said his best attribute is the way he finishes races.
"I feel a little bit slow coming out of the blocks. I think top end speed is my best strength," Parrish said. "As a sprinter you have to be disciplined. To maintain your speed you have to have good hand motion, full control of your body and control of your momentum."
Interlake sprint coach Nick Lombardo said Parrish is a natural sprinter who has the skills to win a state title in the Class 3A 100-meter finals this May at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.
"There is a lot of fast guys out there but he is definitely in that group. He can compete with anybody," Lombardo said.
Lombardo said Parrish has worked hard on fine tuning his running form.
"We've been getting him to not look so much like a football player when he runs. He's learned to keep his elbows in and how to drive with his head down," Lombardo said. "He's such a natural at it."
Lombardo said the Saints coaching staff has been careful of late with Parrish due to his injured groin. Parrish typically competes in just two events per meet because of the injury.
"(Parrish) should be ready for KingCo and move through districts just fine," Lombardo said. "He will be at the big dance at the end if he can remain healthy and be ready to run at full go all of the time."
Parrish said he hadn't competed in track since the eighth grade. Carrying the football between the white lines of the gridiron is vastly different from sprinting on the oval.
"In football you have to worry about who is coming after you. In track when you come out of the blocks all you have to do is stick to your zone. You can't focus on everybody else because if you do that, it slows you down," Parrish said. "That has been one of the hardest adjustments for me."
Parrish knows his blistering 10.94 time in the 100 is something the Interlake High School student body takes pride in.
"I always put pressure on myself. I'm pretty sure everyone around my school is expecting me to win (first place at state meet in the 100) but there is a lot of fast people in the state of Washington. I don't want to disappoint people," he said. "I'm going to try the best I can."
Shaun Scott; 425-453-5045; firstname.lastname@example.org