Destin Marlin track team is glad to be back on the track competing

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After basically missing the entire season last year because of COVID-19, the Destin Marlin track team is excited just to be back on the track. 

“Outcome is not the biggest thing for this team,” said Destin Middle School track coach Demetris Stevens

“We’re here and we’re being able to have a season ... and making sure everybody progresses and gets faster as the season goes,” he said, is at the forefront for the Marlins. 

“We’re just going to see how it shapes up,” he said. 

Destin's Carson Fayard takes a handoff during relay practice last week at Destin Middle School.

Last year, the Marlins got to participate in a pre-season meet at Emerald Coast Middle School in south Walton before spring break. Then COVID-19 hit and that was it for the season. 

“That was our entire season,” Stevens said of the pre-season meet. 

More:Demetris Stevens is Destin Middle 'Teacher of The Year'

He had high hopes for eighth-graders like Maddox Fayard and Harrison Orr. 

“Maddox Fayard was pushing that 400 record, and Harrison Orr was probably going to win the 100 in the county,” he said. 

Destin Middle School track coach Demetris Stevens works with the athletes on the spin for the discus event during a recent practice.

But things ended abruptly. 

As for this season, the Marlins have 65 athletes who will compete. 

“We have a young squad this year, but I do have some returners,” Stevens said. 

More:Destin Marlins beat Davidson Panthers in middle school football action

Returning to the team is seventh-grader Carson Fayard.  

“Carson is a pretty decent 400 runner. She was really spectacular a couple of seasons ago,” he said. 

Maddox Hayles is new to throwing the discus but Destin track coach Demetris Stevens says he's doing well.

Another returnee he spoke highly of is eighth-grader Connor Rising. 

“He’s going to be a pretty good distance runner,” Stevens said. 

Others showing some speed include Shadaine Hibbert who was on the soccer team that finished first in the county and Tracen Trahan from the football team. 

Another footballer Stevens looks to do well is Maddox Hayles. 

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“He’s a beginning thrower ... but he’s a very strong kid and coachable,” he said. 

Stevens said he looks for the Marlins to do well in the mid-distance events as well as the girls long jump and discus. 

“Everybody is working hard and we don’t have any injuries,” he said as he walked around on the practice field last week. 

“Everybody is enthusiastic, got good attitudes, fast kids ... that’s all you can ask for,” he said. 

The Marlins' first meet is at home at 4:30 p.m. on March 17. Destin will host Meigs Middle of Shalimar, Bruner Middle of Fort Walton Beach and Shoal River Middle of Crestview.