​Stratford athlete dedicates national title to slain Goose Creek track coach

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Stratford freshman Devonte Fuller won the New Balance Nationals 400-meter dash freshman race in a personal best of 49.70 seconds. Fuller wore a black and yellow ribbon during the race to show support for the Singleton family after Wednesday’s shooting in Charleston where Goose Creek High School girls track and field coach Sharonda Coleman-Singleton was among nine victims.

Interview with Fuller

“I wore the black and yellow ribbon in support of the Singleton family and their tragic loss,” said Fuller. “I personally didn't know Coach (Sharonda) Coleman-Singleton but when I asked people about her I heard nothing but amazing things about her and my mom thought it would be best for us being from for Goose Creek to show our support. I wish nothing but the best for the Singleton family as they face this tragic event.”

“After hearing the news, honestly I was devastated,” said coach Twon Williams. “Knowing that I wouldn’t see Coach Singleton at the coaches (SCTCCCA) meetings and meets made it even tougher. Coach Singleton was a ray of light at the meets. Every time you saw her she had an infectious smile of her face. I won’t get a text message this Sunday afternoon asking how nationals went from her this year. This truly saddens me. She cared about all track athletes, not just her own student-athletes at Goose Creek. She is greatly missed in our community. Prior to us leaving Devonte’s mom asked if we would be allowed to wear ribbons on our tops for Coach Singleton and I told her that would be a great idea and I didn’t think they would be an problem. Honestly I almost canceled this trip because of what happened but I knew that she wouldn’t have wanted me to do this. So we took the drive up to compete.”

Statement from SCTCCCA:
On behalf of the SCTCCCA, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and team of Goose Creek High School girls track and field coach Sharonda-Coleman Singleton. Coach Singleton was killed in the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston. We have lost a great individual, a wonderful mother, and a dedicated coach. Please keep her family and team in your thoughts and prayers. Coach Singleton's son has informed the media that her funeral service will be at noon on Thursday at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Photo (provided) Stratford’s Devonte Fuller pays his respects to the loss of Goose Creek track coach Coach Singleton while wearing a Goose Creek team color ribbon on his singlet as he wins New Balance Outdoor Nationals freshman 400. His time was 49.70.

Fuller’s comments on the race:

“Coming into the race I had to mentally prepare myself for trying to achieve this achievement,” said Fuller on the win. “Coach (Twon) Williams has been telling me all week it may come down to the last 60 meters and it did. Knowing that I was coming into this race with the second fastest time meant I have to start and finish strong in order to come on top. Being that I was in the last heat I was able to see everyone’s time and figure out my game plan. Then it was time for me too get in the blocks. It seemed liked time had slowed down as I wait for the gun to fire. As soon as I got out of the block I felt good and my focus was now to break breaking the stagger prior to going into the second curve. After I broke the stager I started to feel the tension as I came to the last 100 meters and realized it was going to be a close race. I could hear the crowd chanting the racers name and the announcer saying “this is going to come to the last 50.” When I crossed the finished line it was the best feeling of my life. I couldn’t have done what I did without the help of Coach Twon Williams and teammates K.J. Givens and Terik Johnson.”

Williams’ comments on Fuller’s victory:

Devonte and the other guys have been working hard the last few weeks to prepare for this weekend. He’s a true competitor. He’s grown over the season considering this is his first year running track. The goal was to win and attempt to break the freshman 400 record but after the three-hour delay because of the thunderstorms we had to rethink things. Right after he finished his warm-up and was inside the hipping tent meet management had to postpone the meet. So his race plan shifted to just the win since the track was soaked and it had started getting cold. But the race could have gone a little better as he slowed after passing the mile start line thinking it was the finish line. But nonetheless we are happy with the win and his first national title in his first track season. So after the 4x400 of Sunday we will shut him down for the remainder of the summer as he heads into football season.”