Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Rogers sprinter Anthony Dearfield shares signing day celebration with school community

Anthony Dearfield poses for a picture after signing his letter of intent to run track at Central Washington at Rogers High School on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.  (Dave Nichols)

There are several times during the school year when families or schools host ceremonies for high school student-athletes to sign a national letter of intent to continue their pursuits at the college of their choice.

But in the middle of summer? Not so much.

On Tuesday, Rogers High School did just that, providing the time and space to allow Anthony Dearfield the opportunity to announce he was signing with Central Washington University to run track.

“It feels great that I get to do what I love, the sport that I love, to do that for four more years,” he said.

Dearfield said his goals at college were simple.

“I want to be the best. I want to grow there. I want to be the best I can be – I want to be at my full potential.”

Rogers track coach Brent Palmer was bursting with pride.

“Anytime a kid gets a little bit of help at the next level for something that they’ve earned as an athlete is an exciting thing,” he said.

Once Dearfield made his decision of where to sign, he went to Palmer to see if they could still have a ceremony at school.

“He was like, ‘Is this possible for us to put one of those together? I was kind of excited about it,’ ” Palmer recounted. “And I was like, ‘Oh, absolutely. We’re gonna put this together.’”

Dearfield was the District 8 and regional champion last year in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, but an untimely injury prohibited him from competing at the state meet in Tacoma.

He recovered enough to compete in the 100 at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Eugene on June 19, where he finished 25th in a field of 55 in the “Emerging Elite” category with a time of 11.29, well off his personal best of 11.04, set at the Rogers Jamboree in March.

Dearfield was happy he was able to bounce back from his injury to take part at the Nike Nationals, held at the University of Oregon track where the recent World Championships were held.

“It was a beautiful track,” he said. “I loved running on it, and it just was probably one of the best tracks I ever ran on.”

It added fuel to his desire to run collegiately.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” he said. “Running on one college track, it just made me want to do it more and just made me more hungry for it.”

Tuesday’s ceremony was attended by roughly 15 classmates and coaches in the school’s resource room, including a handful of football players who had been working out in the gym earlier.

“It’s so great that people are still coming here to support me, even during the summer even when school’s out,” Dearfield said. “It’s a great experience.”

The rare summer signing day highlights the success the Rogers track program is starting to see, and Dearfield understands the significance of holding a ceremony at the school.

“I definitely see myself as a role model,” he said. “A lot of people have looked up to me. And a lot of people always ask me for advice, questions and stuff like that. And it’s just great that I can leave a mark on Rogers.”

The importance isn’t lost on Dearfield’s sprint coach, Khalil Winfrey, who had an outstanding prep career at Rogers, competed for the University of Washington, and returned to Hillyard to work and coach at the school in football, basketball and track.

“It’s very special,” Winfrey said. “I mean, that’s the thing about here at Rogers is you know, we want to get all these youngsters that were in the gym and said, ‘Hey, let’s go cheer on Anthony signing today.’

“You know, these youngsters are able to see that and one day maybe they can be the one signing.”

“It’s cool to have his peers here witness this and see his hard work,” Palmer added.

“These things are important, and not just for him. He deserves this, he’s earned this. But it was good for our kids to see that this happens, and see that this isn’t just something that happens everywhere else – at Mead and Gonzaga Prep – that it happens here. And that’s the exciting thing.”