Sprinter DeAsha Duncan may not have been Marietta’s best track and field athlete, but she was one of team’s best leaders.
Marietta coach Nick Houstoulakis said whenever up-and-coming athletes or move-ins needed seasoning on the basics, such as hand-offs during relays or block starts, Duncan knew her stuff.
“She is one that could work on hand-offs with a group of kids because she knows what she is doing,” Houstoulakis said. “DeAsha is good at working with new athletes and is a great communicator. As coaches, we are spread thin as it is. I could put her with a certain kid and it would be done correctly.”
Duncan was also one who never missed practice, working from beginning to end honing her own skills, which was in the 100-meter dash and 400-meter relay.
She started out throwing the shot put when she first started in the seventh grade at Marietta Middle School. Once she got to high school, with her speed and explosiveness, she shifted to the 100. The shorter the sprint, the faster Duncan was. If the state of Georgia had offered indoor track, Houstoulakis said she would have excelled in the 60 meters.
One of her finer track memories was helping the Lady Blue Devils win the Class AAAAAAA state meet in 2018, the program’s first since 2001.
“What was it like, I don’t even know,” Duncan said, looking back on the event. “It felt like we accomplished a lot because other teams were doubting Marietta to win state, and we did.”
Although she would have preferred to finish her senior season, she did earn varsity letters her sophomore through her senior seasons. She said she was at practice when she first heard the news that schools were closing because of the coronavirus pandemic and that spring sports would be put on hold and eventually canceled.
“Our coach gathered us and basically told us the news, and we were all devastated,” Duncan said. “I was even more sad because it was my senior year, and I couldn’t finish my sport.”
Duncan said she plans to attend Alabama A&M in the fall where she will major in chemistry with a minor in chemistry forensics. Having grown up watching Criminal Minds and Law and Order, the television shows have aspired her to solve murder cases for a living. And Houstoulakis said Duncan may attempt to walk on the track team.
“She was as hard of worker as anyone else,” Houstoulakis said. “She was very committed. She was an amazing teammate. She was the type of kid that improves your culture. That was her value. She was always committed.”