Days after helping his 4-x-200 relay team set the state’s best time of the season winning the 4-x-100 and 100 meter race at the Ketchikan invite, Thunder Mountain senior Donald Stokes is excited to keep getting faster and continue to set personal records. Stokes, who is also a wrestler and wide receiver and linebacker standout for the football team, has committed to College of the Siskiyous, a two-year community college in Weed, Calif., where he plans to run track and play football. The San Diego native said sports play a huge part in his life, but he is also interested in studying psychology and child development because he feels he can use his experiences to help kids make smart decisions in life. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior said he also knows his way around a pepperoni hot pocket.
What events do you compete in for track?
“I do the long jump, the 100, the 4-x-100 and the 4-x-200.”
Talk about the role that sports have played in your life
“I think sports have kept me out of trouble and have changed me. I’m the captain of the track team, for the sprints and the jumps, so it’s given me more of a responsibility. Sports are what I focus on. No partying, no drugs, no alcohol; it’s just sports, sports, sports. That’s what’s helped me change, and that’s what I look forward to.”
What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not playing sports?
“I like to eat, and then work out and then sleep. I want to gain weight for college, but I don’t want to gain too much. So, I eat and then work some of it off. I eat a lot of pepperoni hot pockets. I also like to hang out with my family and friends and just have fun.”
What’s your plan for next year?
“I’m going to school in California at College of the Siskiyous in Weed, California. I’m going to play football and run track, and if they have wrestling, I’m probably going to wrestle. I’ll probably play receiver or quarterback for football, but I’m not really sure.”
What do you think you might want to study in college?
“I’d like to study psychology and child development. I was a troubled youth growing up, and I kind of taught myself what not to do and how to react in certain situations. I’ve changed a lot since then, and I think I can help kids.”
Talk about the adjustment of moving to Alaska from San Diego
“I think the only real adjustment was the weather. In California, I really didn’t have anything going for me. I don’t think I would have finished high school if I had stayed there. Now that I’ve come up here, it’s like, ‘This is where I need to be.’ It’s helped me so much, and I’ve conquered a lot. I’ve turned heads in my family who thought I’d be in prison, or stuff like that. On the other hand, I have a twin in California who’s not doing so good right now. He’s not up here with us because he got in trouble. So, I think I would have been in more trouble if I had stayed there. I think this was a really good move, even though I tried not to move here at first. But then I ended up saying, ‘Ok, I’ll go.’ Now I love it.”
What are your expectations for the TMHS track team the rest of the season?
“Our expectations for this year’s track team are to take more than two people up to state. Last year, it was just me and Sidney Thorne who went to state. But this year, we’re going to have a lot of distance runners and a lot of sprinters for both boys and girls who should go to state. Our coach was telling us that our 4-x-100 is ranked number two in state, so we’re looking pretty good right now. But it’s not so much about just going to state, it’s just us racing against ourselves, getting faster and setting as many PRs as we can. It’s really exciting. I’m going to be excited for the rest of my life because I know I’m doing something with myself and I’m not in jail or anything.”