Freshman two-sport star excels

A couple of weeks ago, Shelton Sampson had one of the bigger moments in his young track career as a Washington Husky. Lined up against him in the 60 yard dash was Oregon's Samie Parker. Sampson's football teammates took care of business back in November, but Parker was ready for some payback - even if it was just for himself. The junior from Long Beach out-ran the freshman from Clover Park on his way to an eventual 4th place finish at the NCAA indoors. But Shelton will be back.

"I felt pretty good," Shelton told Dawgman.com about his matchup with the speedy Duck receiver. "I was expecting to come out a lot better than I did, but it was cool. It was OK. He was a pretty good competitor. He's pretty fast. I was trying my best to go out there and do as good as I could, but he won."

Sampson doesn't lose very often. In fact, in the much-ballyhooed, mano-a-mano slugfest with now-teammate Nate Robinson in the finals of the Class 3A 110 meter hurdles last year, Shelton took Nate's braggadocio and turned it around on him, winning that race and earning a lot of respect in the process.

And his progress continues. His 200 PR of 21.5 in high school was shattered a few weeks back when Shelton ran 21.18, earning him a provisional time for the NCAA indoor meet. That time didn't hold up, so he didn't get a chance to run with the best 200 indoor college runners in the country, but he expects to make it to that meet next year.

"I'm always used to hard work, but coming in and playing college football and at the same time running college track...the expectations are a lot higher," Sampson said. "If you want to do good in both sports you have to really be dedicated in both sports. The time consumption as far as workouts is a lot more."

For the indoor season, Shelton's PR's in the 60 and 200 meters were 6.84 and 21.18, respectively.

Sampson takes his track very seriously, but it's not his first concern. Having come in under a football scholarship, he knows that taking care of business on the football field takes priority. But putting in time doing both football and track conditioning, along with the normal day-to-day rigors of being a college student, can take it's toll.

Shelton doesn't like to think about what could have been if he had just focused hard on one sport. First of all, it's not in his nature. And secondly, he's not a man who makes excuses. "You really can't think about it like that because I am playing football and running track," he said. "I don't know how I would do if I was fresh. I might have run my best time just doing what I'm doing right now, so I really can't tell."

Sprint coach Dion Miller has Shelton working on a couple of key items that Sampson feels will help him come out of the blocks flying this spring when he puts on the pads. "I'm working on my form, because you do a lot of running in football," he said. "Form is the key. Coming out of the backfield you need a lot of acceleration, so I've been working on that too."

And after spring football is over, it's back to the oval for the remainder of Washington's outdoor track season. Sampson will be running the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay. Shelton feels like the football guys have a 39 in them when it comes to the relay.

"We're feeling it so far," he said. "We've been practicing a little, in terms of handoffs, but we really haven't put it all together yet. So far it's Derrick, Roc, Reggie and me. They all have pretty good track backgrounds, so we'll see how it goes.

"The track guys that play football bring more speed to the team. I know that the Huskies are known for having speed in other events, but actually putting speed toward the 60 brings a lot more runners out. On top of that, since we do play football, that does help bring support."

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