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Originally published: 2014-06-05 01:45:48
Last modified: 2014-06-09 17:00:59

Grimes signs letter of intent with Belmont-Abbey

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

It can be said that DeShaun Grimes has overachieved both in track and field and in the classroom.


Grimes, one of Watauga's long and triple jumpers, signed a letter of intent to jump at Belmont-Abbey, a Division II program in Belmont just west of Charlotte. It's also a Catholic school, but open to all denominations.


Grimes, who said he is a Methodist, feels he can fit in at the college. All students must take a class on Catholicism, in their first semester at the school, but Grimes doesn't feel that will be a problem.


"It's a nice Catholic school," Grimes said. "It's small and the rooms are just like Watauga's rooms. There are a lot of nice people there and they're really cool."


Grimes may be a fish out of water at a Catholic college, but he proved at Watauga High School that he is capable of academic success. He overachieved in the classroom by graduating from Watauga in three years.


Although he is a junior, who just turned 17 years old, he will graduate with the class of 2014 on June 14. Grimes said he's anxious to find out what life can be like outside of Watauga County.


"I just got all my credits done," Grimes said. "They said I needed 24 and then they changed it to 21 last semester. I'll have between 28 and 31 this semester."


He also shows enough potential in track and field to be able to compete collegiately. Grimes also wants to walk-on to the basketball team, although he did not play basketball at Watauga.


"The athletic department is actually pretty nice," Grimes said. "I hopefully will be playing basketball there too. They said that I could play half indoor (track) season, and half basketball, but it's mainly track."


That means competing in the long jump and the triple jump at Belmont-Abbey. At Watauga, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Joseph Grimes Jr., who set the school record for the triple jump of 40-feet in 1993. He held the record until Adrian Wilkinson set a new mark of 45-8 in 2005.


DeShaun Grimes, who only started track and field two years ago, worked his way up to 37 feet doing the triple jump and 18 feet in the long jump. He also filled in for some relays for the Pioneers when needed.


Watauga track and field coach Randy McDonough, has taught Grimes since the jumper was in kindergarten at Hardin Park Elementary School, where McDonough teaches physical education.


McDonough said Grimes has developed a work ethic that has turned him into a college student-athlete.


"The fact he's graduating from high school in three years is amazing," McDonough said. "He's always been very gung-ho. When he first came out, he didn't always back that up with the work. Now, he's one of the first at practice and the last to leave. If I would do it, he would stay out there even longer. I almost have to kick him out sometimes. He wants to jump and jump and jump."


McDonough was happy that Grimes signed with a program that is in the Conference Carolinas, which is also the same league that Lees-McRae College competes. The Conference Carolinas conference meet was at Lees-McRae this season.


In that meet, Belmont-Abbey senior Jean Luc Rolland was second in the triple jump with a distance of 46-feet, 8 1/2 inches. Rolland also set a school record in the long jump with a leap of 22-2 1/4 inches.


Belmont-Abbey is coached by Mike DeWitt.


"He's been over 18 feet in the long jump and right at 37 in the triple jump," McDonough said. "His mom said he's got his foot in the door, now he has to stay there by himself. I hope good things happen to him. He'll have good support there and Lees-McRae is in their conference, so hopefully we'll get to see him."