One is the coach and the other his star track athlete. Together, they are fulfill- ing a destiny set in motion 23 years ago by James Pelham.
Pelham was the longtime Shanks High School track-and-field coach who retired in 1995 and passed away two years ago.
Pelham took a young Ricardo Shaw under his wing in the mid-1990s and taught him about goals, running fast and life.
One of Coach Pelham’s favorite techniques was to have Shaw watch old videos of former great run- ners. He also served as a substitute parent whose guidance and advice is now being passed along to another future great in Dequavious “Mook” Charleston.
Charleston, a sopho- more, has busted out of the block in every way possible.
He placed first in the 100 and 200 meters re- cently at the Chiles Fresh- man/Sophomore Championships against mostly local talent.
Then at the prestigious FSU Relays (which draws talent from all around the Southeast and was repre- sented by 53 high schools), Charleston fin- ished third in the 400 meters, third in the 200 meters and 11th in the 100 meters.
Mook, his nickname since he was a baby, is in only his third season of track.
He ran one season at Shanks Middle School and last year at East Gads- den High School as a freshman.
Last year he had the best time in the district at 100 meters and placed sixth in the state meet in the 400 meters.
Area coaches are not only impressed by the new talent but intrigued by his ability to run both the short distances and the quarter-mile.
Coach Shaw described Charleston this way, “Mook is an absolute monster at training. He loves it and he dreams about his future. We have a routine. He studies be- fore track, works out and then comes home with me to train some more.”
Hard work and success are no stranger to Ricardo Shaw either.
While at Shanks Shaw won two state champi- onships under Pelham in 1994 and 1995 — and a runner-up trophy with Coach Andy Gay in 1996.
At one time in 1996 Shaw ran the fastest 100 meters in the country. Post-high school, Coach Shaw ran well in the Olympic Trials and the USA Track-and Field Cir- cuit, but his cleats have been retired for a long time and changed to a coaching whistle.
Shaw now has a strong desire to guide and inspire another talent, Mook Charleston, like he was in- spired a quarter-of-a-cen- tury ago by James Pelham.
And if some chickens are scooped up and placed in some waiting boilers along the way, well that’s all in good training for the fu- ture.
Charleston competed in the Class 2A – District 2 Championships on Tuesday at Florida High in Talla- hassee. He is expected to go on to compete in the Class 2A – Region 1 Champi- onships on Wednesday, April 25 at Florida High, and the State Class 2A Track-and-Field Champi- onships on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville,