Ocoee High School’s Darryl Gay, a sophomore, ran the best time of his young career at the Class 4A District 3 meet last week at Lake Mary High School. Gay, who plays receiver for the Knights during football season, ran a 10.81 in the finals of the 100 meters — good for an individual district championship. Gay also placed second in the 200 meters behind West Orange’s Eddie McDoom and ran two relay races for the Knights. Next, he will compete at the Class 4A Region 1 meet April 23 at Flagler Palm Coast.
How did it feel to win a district championship for the first time?
It felt very good — it felt like I put in a lot of work, and I made it where I wanted to make it. But I still want to meet my other goals and make it to state.
Were you surprised by how well you did?
I was very surprised — I was trying my best to get a 10.90, and I got it that day.
What’s your approach like when it comes to improving on track?
It’s the little things — you have to get the little things first. My coach always says, “It’s the little things that will get you better.”
How did you end up playing football and track?
I started off as a young child playing football, first, and then ended up running track because I was fast. As I continued on in track, I started loving it.
The combination of those two sports seems to be a popular one. Why do you think that is?
They work well together, because it keeps you conditioned. You may lift weights in the offseason, but you’re still going to need the speed on the field. Like people say, “Speed kills.”
Now that you and the other returning football players have had a chance to get to know new coach Ben Bullock, are they excited about playing for him this spring and into the fall?
We’re all excited — we can’t wait to get to play the spring game against University. I think that next season, we’re going to win districts. I believe it.
As a school, Ocoee has seen some nice improvement in sports like boys basketball and baseball. Do you think you can be a part of football joining in on that trend?
I’d love to see it. Ocoee’s on the come up. Everybody knows that.
How do you mentally prepare for your big races?
I just always practice hard and never really think about (the pressure). When you get to the (starting) line, just know it’s time to go. Hard work pays off.
The NBA Playoffs began this past weekend. Any predictions as to which team will win it all?
Honestly, I think Steph Curry and the Warriors, they’re going to take it home.
What are you looking forward to the most about the summer?
Work — putting in work. Summer workouts with football, do a little track and training.
What’s your favorite class?
What would you like to do for a living after college?
I want to be an entrepreneur and own my business.
What’s your best sports memory so far as a varsity athlete?
I think my best memory would be running a 10.81 — I’ll never forget it. When they announced it in the stands, I was just shocked. I didn’t know I was moving that fast.
As a Gators fan, do you think Tim Tebow will be successful with the Philadelphia Eagles?
Yeah, I think he’s actually a really good quarterback. Some people, they just doubt him, but they don’t give him a chance to prove himself.
Finally, what do you like to do with your free time?
I just like to be with my friends and chill. I’m a happy person; I don’t really get upset.