Deonte Sheffield is a champion, and he's got the hardware to prove it.
In recent weeks, the 14-year-old has left his mark on the track, shattering Destin Middle School records as well as winning at state.
Sheffield, a 5-foot-9 eighth grader, finished this year’s track and field season while setting school records in the 100 meter dash, 11:55; 200 meter dash, 24:43; and long jump, 20 feet 1.5 inches. He also earned the title of state champion in the long jump, and set two separate records in shot put of 46-feet .5 inches with an 8 pounder and best distance of 43 feet in the 4k division.
"I was working this summer to get this," said Sheffield, son of Donnie and Linda Sheffield of Destin.
But the one event he had his sights on was the 100 meter. Last year he kept getting beat by a peer from Lewis Middle School.
"I knew I could stay with him," Sheffield said, so he concentrated on that event and managed to win the Okaloosa County Championship.
But winning the events and earning all the medals hasn't come without hard work.
Sheffield trains with a coach in Fort Walton Beach four days a week for an hour-and-a-half each session.
"And I run the beach every day for 30 minutes," he said. "I run in the rough sand because it makes your legs stronger. I can tell a big difference."
And when he's done, "I can't walk," he said smiling.
To get in shape for the long jump he works out in the weight room, doing squats to strengthen his legs.
As for equipment, track doesn't require much, just a good pair of tennis shoes.
Sheffield has gone through three pairs of tennis shoes this season, with the first pair costing about $140. In a tri-meet with Lewis and Meigs middle school, Sheffield lost his only race, when he blew out a tennis shoe, which he said doesn't happen often.
Before each track meet, Sheffield looks inward and upward.
"I pray to God and talk to him," he said.
Sheffield said he always thinks about the Bible verse Philippians 4:13 that says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me," because it gets him through football or anything he would like to achieve.
And achievement is something he's accomplished hands down at Destin Middle.
"He's been here since sixth grade and every year he progresses more and more," said Destin track coach Ben Kackley. "And most of the records he broke this year are his own records from last year. He was always looking to put his name on the board to the point where it's not going to come down for a long period of time.”
Not only did he do that in track, but in football as well.
"He had 16 TDs and 26 for his middle school career," said Destin Football Coach Ron Griffiths. "Both of those records won’t be touched for quite some time."
"He's a pretty special player, defense and offense. He's a threat to take it the distance," Griffiths said.
Griffiths also had Sheffield on the basketball court.
"He was a go-to player, clutch player all year," Griffiths said. "He took it to the basket almost every time he touched the ball. It made everybody on the team better having him around."
Does Sheffield plan to continue with all sports?
"I plan to focus on football in high school," Sheffield said, noting he's headed to Fort Walton Beach High. "But track will keep you fast in football, so I'll keep doing track."
He hopes to play running back and slot for the Vikings.
As for basketball, "I'll play my first year, but then stop because it would be too much," he said.
Football is his first love and he plans to continue and play in college for some "Florida team … so everybody can watch."
But even before football, Sheffield said "I always put God first."