In the summer before his senior year, Darius Watkins isn’t considering resting on his laurels.
The Grovetown High School sprinter won the 200-meter dash and took third in the 100 at the 2013 Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state championships, and he still has a year left to achieve more goals.
“I’m pretty satisfied, but I know there’s greater and better things to come in the future,” said Watkins, The Augusta Chronicle’s boys track athlete of the year.
Watkins competed last weekend at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor in Greensboro, N.C., with the Amateur Athletic Union Velocity Striders.
Against some of the top high school sprinters in the nation, Watkins took sixth in the boys 200. This came on the heels of representing the United States at the eighth Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in Puerto Rico in early June.
There, Watkins was on the winning 4x100 relay team and finished fourth in the 100.
“It was one of the greatest experiences and feelings in my life,” he said. “You go out there with some of the greatest athletes in my class and to perform like we did, it’s just a great honor to represent the country like that.”
Grovetown track coach Rodney Tyson isn’t surprised by Watkins’ success.
“Not many kids around that work harder,” Tyson said. “He sets some extremely high goals and he always comes to practice with focus … I’m just excited to see what he’s going to be able to do with another year’s growth to go on the track.”
While wanting to win championships and set personal bests, Watkins is driven with his future in mind.
“I think the fuel for me is just to be the first person in my family to make it to a big-time college and just continue to get better because in track you can always get better,” Watkins said.
He gets inspiration from Striders teammates such as Jeremy Harden and Kayla Tyson, who will be running for the University of Georgia and the University of Louisville.
“They’re a great influence on me because it shows that if you put in the hard work, you can go wherever you really want to go in terms of college and in the future,” Watkins said.