Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Ruled ineligible, DeSoto track star Devin Field shifts focus forward
When Devin Field won the Class 4A state long jump as a freshman, he looked like the rare athlete who could win state titles in four straight years. When Field won the long jump and the triple jump last year as a sophomore, he looked like he might become one of Lancaster’s biggest high school track stars ever.
But at this year’s state meet, don’t look for Devin Field. SportsDay’s 2011 track and field boys athlete of the year was ruled ineligible before the season began after moving to Port Arthur for three months and then enrolling at DeSoto.
Now Field says he might never again compete in a University Interscholastic League meet. The junior said he will try to graduate from DeSoto in December and enroll at Kansas State, where he has given his oral commitment for track and field.
Field is disappointed that he won’t be able to compete at this year’s state meet, but he’s looking ahead to bigger things.
“Winning state was one of my main goals,” he said, “but my biggest goal this year is to make the world junior team.”
Field will try to earn a spot on that team at the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June in Bloomington, Ind. He has a great chance, considering his long jump of 25 feet, 7 3/4 inches in January was the best indoor mark by a junior this year. That leap at the Arkansas High School Invitational beat the rest of the field by 4 feet.
Clearly, Field is an elite athlete. But how he became ineligible isn’t as straightforward.
Field’s family has lived in DeSoto since moving from Port Arthur after Hurricane Rita hit in 2005. He attended Lancaster as a freshman and sophomore — and helped the Tigers win state titles — because the district offers open enrollment. But last summer, Field moved with his family to Port Arthur to be closer to his grandmother, who is battling cancer.
But Field couldn’t get the classes he needed at Port Arthur Memorial, said his mother, Elissa Field. So after three months attending Memorial, Field moved back north and enrolled at DeSoto, the school his mom wanted him to attend. Field’s mom and sister remained in Port Arthur, and he began living with family friend Trent Gamble, who is also his summer track coach.
With Field’s mom staying in Port Arthur, it’s not a surprise that he was ruled ineligible when he transferred to a school that is one of the favorites to win the 5A track title.
“They said he was transferring for athletics,” Elissa Field said, “but he wasn’t.”
Elissa Field said she plans to move back to the Dallas area at the end of April now that her mother’s health is improving. Devin Field is working out with the DeSoto track team, but he can compete only in junior varsity meets.
Elissa Field said she knows her son is disappointed that he can’t compete for a state title, but she tells him to focus on the future.
“The only thing I tell Devin about the UIL thing is that everything happens for a reason and this is a chance for you to focus on school,” she said. “Forget about high school track and do your school work, and get up and out of there.”