Bishop Alemany sprinter Demare Dezeurn off to a flying freshman start


Seven weeks ago, 15-year-old Demare Dezeurn of Bishop Alemany High sprinted into the history books by setting a national freshman record of 6.72 seconds in the 60-meter dash at the California Winter Track & Field Championships at Arcadia High. On April 6, he will return to the site of that head-turning performance to compete in the 56th annual Arcadia Invitational.

Dezeurn’s 60-meter effort Feb. 3 was eight-thousandths of a second faster than Harvard-bound Granada Hills senior Jordan Coleman and broke the meet record of 6.76 set by Damien junior Zach Shinnick in 2016. He gave a taste of what was to come by clocking 6.83 at the Winter Championships qualifier in Simi Valley in January. He ran 6.78 seconds to place fourth in the 60-meter race at the Nike Indoor Nationals in New York City on March 10 and six days later produced a 10.47-second wind-legal 100 meters in the Maurice Greene Invitational at Oaks Christian High.

“I was very surprised that I broke that record because I didn’t go into that race thinking about breaking any record. I just wanted to run fast and trust the work I had been putting in,” Dezeurn said. “I didn’t know at the time, I found out later. My coach told me after the race that I broke it.”

Dezeurn is a sprinter blessed with blazing speed who appreciates the individual effort required in the sport, but he also likes the team aspect of the relays.

“At the moment I’ve been training to do the 100 meters, 200 meters and the 4×100 relay,” he says. “My favorite event is the 100 meters because I’m a natural sprinter and feel I do my best work in that event. The only goals I’ve set are to PR in the 100 and 200 and to trust my training and coach. If I do that, the sky is the limit!”

Among Dezeurn’s leading challengers at Arcadia in the 100 will be fellow ninth-grader Benjamin Harris of Long Beach Poly, who bolted to a wind-aided 10.44 on April 10 at the Redondo Nike Track and Field Festival — the fastest time ever for a freshman in California.

Barely two months into his prep track career, Dezeurn is making a name for himself — not too shabby for a kid who will not celebrate his 16th birthday until early October. Perhaps no one appreciates Dezeurn’s ability more than Alemany head track coach Racquel Turner, who sees a bright future for her rising star.

“Demare is the most naturally gifted athlete I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach — so much that he makes it all look so easy,” Turner says. “I owe his amazing foundation to his youth coach [Zabian Miller]. They’ve been together since he was 8 and they put in a ton of work long before he stepped onto the high school stage.”

Turner stressed that much of her focus with Dezeurn relates to the technical aspects to keep him in top shape mentally and physically — including foot health, mobility, biomechanics and visualization work.

“Coach Turner and I have been focusing on my block start, my stride, and hand placement,” Dezeurn says. “I have to give a lot of credit to Coach Turner for really helping me focus on those things in practice. It has really helped me a lot.”

Already performing at an elite level on the oval, Dezeurn is also making a name for himself on the gridiron.

In the fall, Dezeurn was the varsity football team’s top receiver with 42 catches for 567 yards and five touchdowns, and he also scored on a 92-yard kickoff return. He was the team leader in all-purpose yardage and accounted for nearly one third of the Warriors’ points.

“I always played football and ran track when I was younger,” he says. “I ran for the Northridge Pacers and played for multiple Pop Warner teams. I attribute my speed to the hard work I did with Coach Z. He had me running hills and working out at a young age. I’ve always had good coaches to help me get better.”

Demare Dezeurn (wearing white) clocked 6.83 seconds in the 60-meter dash in a California Winter Championships qualifier.

Demare Dezeurn (wearing white) clocked 6.83 seconds in the 60-meter dash in a California Winter Championships qualifier on Jan. 27 in Simi Valley.

(Jeff Turner)

Despite having three more years of high school ahead of him, Dezeurn has received Division 1 college scholarship offers from Colorado State, Nebraska and Syracuse and, according to his parents, he would have the opportunity to participate in track and football.

“I’m a student-athlete with the ability to do both,” Dezeurn says. “I’m a natural runner, but I have to give a lot of credit to my coaches and my parents for keeping me focused on being a student-athlete. My mom and my brother ran track and my dad played and coached football. My collegiate goals are to, first, be the best student I can be. I’d love the opportunity to do both sports at whatever university I decide to attend.”

Which sport does he find more difficult?

“I don’t think either is hard, but if I had to pick it would be football because football requires many more skills,” he said. “Track is just running my fastest.”

Dezeurn visited a few different high schools before making the decision to attend Bishop Alemany (located in Mission Hills) because of its academic history and college prep program. He likes the tutoring he gets, he likes his teachers and his coaches, Turner in track and 2000 Bishop Alemany alum Casey Clausen in football.

“My job is literally to take him to the next level in an appropriate and safe way,” Turner adds. “He’s only a freshman, and that’s what we remind ourselves every day. Our approach is one season at a time, understanding progress will come as he naturally matures, both physically and mentally, over the next three years.”

Dezeurn has some lofty expectations in the weeks ahead, but given his talent and work ethic, they seem realistic.

“I expect to break the state and national freshman 100 and 200 records this track season,” he said. “I’d also like to win league and state in both events and to just keep trusting my coach and the work I’ve been putting in. ‘No days off’ is how I can reach those expectations.”



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