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ETSU's Delince in a hurry to be fast

Joe Avento • Mar 26, 2018 at 5:54 PM

Karon Delince said he came to East Tennessee State with the idea of not letting anybody stop him.

Stop him? They have to catch him first.

Delince, a freshman from Phenix City, Alabama, has used his championship-winning speed to separate himself from the pack in two sports for the Bucs.

After surprising observers by earning a starting cornerback spot on the football team as a true freshman when many other first-year players were held out as red-shirts, Delince continued to excel on the track when the indoor season began.

Delince was chosen as the Southern Conference’s freshman of the year in indoor track after winning the 200 meters at the conference meet. He scored in three other events as well, finishing second in the long jump and fourth in the 60 while running a leg on ETSU’s third-place 4x400 relay team.

“When I first signed, they told me that I can make both sports work and that’s why I really wanted to sign here,” Delince said Saturday after the football team’s first spring scrimmage. “I came in with the mindset that I’m not going to let anything stop me. I felt like I didn’t want to be red-shirted.”

Delince appeared in 10 football games for the Bucs in the fall and was a reliable starter in the secondary. As soon as the season ended, he began working out with the track team. He said he didn’t know what to expect, but knew he was “out of shape” for track.

That didn’t deter him once the conference meet was held in Lexington, Virginia. His winning time of 21.62 seconds in the 200 was quite a bit slower than the 21.09 he ran outdoors in high school.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I’m not gonna lie to you. To come out of high school with a 21.09 and win it with a 21.6 out of shape, you feel like, ‘Wow!’ ”

Delince’s championship might have surprised him, but some of his football teammates expected it after watching him sprint around the field throughout the fall.

“We knew Karon was fast as soon as he got here,” Bucs all-conference defensive end Nasir Player said. “It was good to see, but it wasn’t surprising. I knew that was going to happen.”

Football sprinting and track sprinting are two entirely different animals, Delince said.

“There’s a lot of difference between track and football,” he said. “In football, you don’t have to have a lot of form. In track, it’s all about form and technique. I just translate it on the football field, that helps me be a lot of faster. I think my speed was a big key in helping me do everything and playing as a true freshman.”

After spring football concludes with the annual spring game on April 5, Delince will have a little more than a month to get ready for the SoCon outdoor track meet, set for May 10-11 at Cullowhee, North Carolina.

What’s on the horizon for one of the fastest athletes on campus?

“Just keep doing well, keep winning more gold medals and set some records,” he said.

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