For many, the period after high school graduation is a time to relax before heading off to college. But former DeMatha High sprinter Derek Mills has spent his summer on the run.
The two-time All-Met from Northeast Washington has been competing for the United States Junior National team and his travels have taken him across the country and around the globe.
In early June, Mills captured the 400-meter title at the Golden West meet in Sacramento, Calif. A week later, it was Elmhurst, Ill., for the Keebler International meet and a second-place finish.
He qualified for the United States squad at the TAC Junior Nationals in Fresno, Calif., on June 30 and won his first race for the team in Spokane, Wash., in mid-July. He took second in the 400 the following week in Ohio.
Then it was off to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, for the World Junior track and field championships where he took fifth in the 400 and ran on the victorious 4x400 relay in the 85-country event.
The travel "wears on you a little bit but I guess I had enough recovery time," said Mills Tuesday, the morning after returning from Bulgaria. "You just have to have the correct mental state when you prepare for your races."
Mills ran a personal best 45.43 in the 400 semi-final in Bulgaria. As he gets set to begin his freshman year at Georgia Tech, he looks back on the trip with fond memories.
"It was my second international meet so it was pretty exciting for me," said Mills. "I was very satisfied." Some Body Special
While most high school students are preparing to return to class next month, Northwestern High School junior David Stanley is arduously working to improve his student body. Stanley, 17, is a body builder training for the AAU Teen USA competition in Atlantic City on Sept. 15.
Stanley, who began lifting weights only a few years ago and participated in his first body-building competitions last May, quickly claimed the Mr. Teen D.C. title at the District Championships. He won Best Teenager in a Seat Pleasant competition and has twice won school contests. It's a far cry from when he started.
"I was really skinny and that really inspired me. I just wanted to change my body," said the 5-foot-9 Stanley, who can bench press about 100 pounds more than his 160-pound bodyweight. "But it's also given me good self-esteem and has made me tougher knowing I can do something and get through it."
Stanley works out four times a week for at least two hours, alternating his training regime to cover all the muscle groups. He eats a carefully constructed diet and prefers the hard work to the temptation of steroids -- a problem in the sport.
"My ultimate goal is to win a national contest then I'll follow it from there," he said. "I don't know how far I want to go with this, but I know I want to win a national show."Get Your Kicks
On the heels of a silver medal-winning performance by a league all-star team at the Maryland State Games in Frostburg in July, the Mid-Maryland Soccer League is gearing up for another season. Thirteen teams, comprising more than 230 players in two divisions, will start the season Sept. 9 on fields throughout Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
"We're kind of the outlet for guys that are out of college or high school and they are looking to hook up with a club team somewhere," said Mike Gonter of Eintracht Adler of the second division. "Most of the players are former college players and some even play with some pro teams." Extra Points
All-star teams from Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia will compete in the Potomac (Va.) High School Fall Baseball Classic at Prince William County Stadium in Woodbridge, Oct. 5-7. It is the fifth straight year for the tournament, which attracts scouts and college coaches from around the country . . .
Phelps High is looking to fill open football dates for the weekends of September 14-15 and Sept. 28-29. Interested coaches should call Steve Powell at the school.