For Parkland’s Dean, the summer is his only off season

Parkland's Kyndel Dean (5) didn't join the track team until the spring, but ended up being a key contributor in the long sprints (200 and 400) plus the 4x200 and 4x400 relays. (Photo by Craig T. Greenlee)

For Parkland’s Dean, the summer is his only off season
June 02
00:01 2016

Kyndel Dean of Parkland fully embraces his ability to multi-task as a three-sport athlete. Whether it’s winter, spring or fall, he’s always working on his craft for that particular season.

It’s fair to say that Dean, a 6-2, 170-pound junior, has excelled to the extent where he’s viewed as a college prospect in football, basketball and track. At this juncture, though, it seems more likely that he’ll pursue football and possibly track at the (NCAA) Division I level.

“Of the three sports, football is my favorite,” said Dean, who has a 3.0 grade-point average. “But if an opportunity came up for me to do both (football and track) in college, I would do it.”

Given Dean’s athletic gifts (speed, sure hands, quickness and leaping ability), it’s hardly surprising that he’s an all-purpose threat on the gridiron. He’s tough to handle as a wide receiver who runs 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has the speed and agility to make tacklers miss.

Dean, who transferred from Carver after his sophomore year, also has game-breaking talents as a running back and kick return specialist. At times, the Mustangs will insert him at quarterback in Wildcat formations.

Defensively, his ability to cover one-on-one is sure to get him some serious looks from major college scouts. For now, he has offers from East Tennessee State, Middle Tennessee State, UNC Charlotte and Elon.

“I’ve coached high school football for 21 seasons, and Kyndel is the most talented player I’ve seen,” said Martin Samek, head football coach at Parkland. “He can score from anywhere on the field, can make all the catches, and he routinely beats double coverage. Not only is he football savvy, but he’s very coachable.

“The major colleges like him as a defensive back because of his size, speed and ball skills. I’m confident that he’ll attract interest from schools in the ACC and East Carolina. If there’s a better pure athlete in Forsyth County, I want to meet him.”

On a basketball court, Dean is fearless at the shooting guard position. His exceptional lateral quickness and sense of anticipation make him a superior defender. Offensively, he’s at his best when using his quickness to blow past defenders and get to the rim or pull-up for mid-range jumpers. Dean is known for his competitiveness and has a reputation for never backing down from a challenge.

Perhaps Dean’s most impressive athletic achievements came during the outdoor track season. Since he plays football and basketball, he didn’t join the team until right after basketball season. That’s significant in a sport where pre-season conditioning is so crucial to becoming a state-championship-caliber runner.

As a result, Dean, who ran the 200 and 400-meter dashes, plus the 4×200 and 4×400 relays, did not run cross country, nor did he run indoor track. In spite of that, he showed tremendous improvement with a little less than three months of track training.

In the closing weeks of the season, the Mustangs’ best long sprinter Lorenzo Graise was sidelined due to a hamstring injury. With Graise out of commission, Dean assumed the role as Parkland’s best at the 200 and 400.

Dean shaved three seconds off his personal best time in the 400 (49.01 seconds), while finishing fifth the Class 4-A state championships two weeks ago. At that same meet, he placed eighth in the 200 (22.12) and ran legs on the state runner-up 4×200 and the 4×400,

that finished fifth.

“There’s no question that Kyndel loves running,” said Antwan Hughes, the Parkland track coach. “To come in like he did, when he did, with no kind of endurance base and still finish fifth at the 4-A state meet was remarkable. His work ethic is amazing.”

Darrell Elliott, who coaches Parkland’s quarter-milers, admits that he was surprised by Dean’s rapid progress over such a short period of time. “If he concentrated on track, he’d run (the 400) in the low 47s at least. I have no doubts that he’ll get his share of Division I track offers. Kyndel wants to be good and he has a winner’s mentality. Whatever the sport, he has that mindset to give all that he has to give.”

When Dean reported for track try-outs in March, he understood the degree of difficulty he faced to make his mark in the 200 and 400 sprints. Parkland’s track program has a well-known reputation for its demanding work-outs that pushes athletes to their personal limits. As things turned out, it was the kind of environment in which Dean flourishes.

“Track was a lot of fun because the practices were very competitive,” said Dean. “Everybody really pushed me and it helped a lot. Because of that, I got faster because I do not like to lose. Running helps a lot with football, not only with my speed and balance, but also with stride length and how quickly I’m able to accelerate.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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