One of Cocoa High's young track and field talents, Jamel Dean, understands that speed kills.
By training all of his sophomore year for multiple sports, the speedy 6-foot standout has built up quickness heading into his junior year as the reigning All-Space Coast Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
"I lifted weights to get stronger and ran longer distances than what I normally run," Dean said.
The young Tiger's season culminated with a Class 2A state finals appearance in the 100 meters and long jump. He finished third in the 100 with a time of 10.67 seconds and fourth in the long jump with a distance of 22 feet, 9½ inches.
At the regional meet, Dean posted a 100-meters personal best of 10.58 and placed second in the long jump with a leap of 23-1.
"(I like) the 100 meters (the most). I have an advantage, because I'm so tall and I cover more ground in the 100," Dean said.
The underclassman dominated Class 2A, District 12 with first-place finishes in every event he contested at the meet. Dean recorded distances of 22-2 and 45-3 for the long jump and triple jump, respectively. He also ran the 100 and 200 in 10.9 and 22.51, respectively.
However, the soon-to-be-junior picked up the football pads immediately after track and field season for spring football. And just weeks following the state finals, Dean showed off some speed on the gridiron against top contender Miami Northwestern.
"Track keeps me in shape, and then I transfer my speed from track to football," Dean said. "Staying in shape and getting stronger (are the most important aspects for my combination of sports)."
Cocoa fell 17-11 against Miami Northwestern at home on May 24, but Dean produced solid running efforts for the Tigers every time he touched the ball, which included an 8-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
"I've been doing football and track ever since I was nine years old," Dean said. "I did AAU over the summer. Then I used to play little league for Rockledge Little League."
The dual-sport athlete believes the combination will give him an advantage over the rest of the pack, but he also understands that the sports are much different from each other.
"Football is a team sport, and track is an individual sport," Dean said.