by Zoey Angelucci

Daimere Stephens-Stewart, a freshman track and field member, started competing in the sport much later than most of his fellow athletes.

The Point Park student originally played football in high school but switched to track after a bad experience. And he hasn’t looked back since.

The 18-year-old Pittsburgh native has competed in the 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, four by 4-meter relay, long jump and triple jump in the teams’ indoor season. He has done well.

In the short amount of time from December 2020 to this February, he has been named River State Conference Men’s Track and Field Newcomer of the Year and RSC’s Men’s Track and Field Athlete of the Week twice. At the River State Conference Championship last month in Logan, Ohio, Stephens-Stewart won three gold medals in the 60-meter dash, long jump and triple jump with a silver medal in the 200-meter dash.

“Daimere has made a huge impact for us this year [2020-2021 indoor season],” Jim Spisak, Point Park track and field head coach, said. “He was one of the top performers for our men’s team at our conference championship and was rewarded for this by being named conference newcomer of the year for this indoor season. He is also starting to grow into a leader for our group. We look forward to his continued improvement in this area.”

As the indoor season concludes Stephens-Stewart looks forward to competing and receiving more awards in the upcoming outdoor spring season starting this month.

“For the next seasons coming up, hopefully, we win a conference [championship] again,” Stephens-Stewart said. “Hopefully, I am able to get the record in the long jump because I was second all-time in indoor. I want to break it this outdoor season. Then hopefully, our whole team will go to nationals.”

Despite his late start, he loves track and field. He didn’t start competing in it until his sophomore year at Central Catholic High School.

“I started it [track and field] late because football wasn’t really working out for me,” said Stephens-Stewart. “I wasn’t getting playing time, so I decided to pick a new sport. I ended up liking track a lot.”

Luckily for the Pittsburgh native, switching to track definitely paid off. During his time at Central Catholic, Stephens-Stewart competed in the WPIAL district championships. Stephens-Stewart said he has found great inspiration in a handful of people throughout his track career. In high school, his head coach, Maurice Lucas, and his mom helped guide him in his athletic journey to get to where he is today.

After high school, Stephens-Stewart chose to continue his academic and athletic careers at Point Park as a business management major. “I felt like it was a good opportunity here. I am getting a scholarship which is good,” said Stephens-Stewart. “I wanted to stay close to home for college so I thought this would be a good place.”

COVID-19 did make things a bit difficult for Stephens-Stewart’s transition to college, considering he missed his entire high school senior year season due to the pandemic. He was depending on that season to prepare for college. It continues to affect him now because of the no spectators and mask rules.

Between practices and meets, Stephens-Stewart has a packed schedule. To keep on top of academics, he studies and completes as much as he can during the mornings and nights around his practice and meet schedules.

When Stephens-Stewart isn’t practicing or studying, he likes hanging out with friends or playing PlayStation just like many other college students. His teammates have become some of his closest friends over his short time on campus. His favorite thing about being on the team is traveling as far as Indiana for indoor meets with his teammates.

“He’s a great teammate that always keeps a positive attitude whether it’s a practice or a meet,” said Dontay Moore, Point Park sophomore track and field member. “He’s the only person I know who can win all jumping events then come back and dominate in the sprints.”

Stephens-Stewart’s efforts have not gone unnoticed among his teammates.

“One admirable thing about him is he’s one of those people that doesn’t let one bad jump or one bad race affect the rest of the meet,” said Point Park sophomore track and field member, Anna Eisaman. “He’s always so positive, not only for himself but towards everyone else too which makes him such a great teammate.”

Once his journey at Point Park started, Stephens-Stewart noted the strong influence his Point Park coaches Spisak, Tim Creamer and Oronde Sharif, have had on him. For Spisak, the feelings are mutual as he looks forward to the type of teammate Stephens-Stewart will become over time.

“Daimere is genuinely a good person who is well-liked by everyone on our team,” said Spisak. “He’s been a great addition to the group character-wise. He’s worked very hard to improve as an athlete, which shows in the progress that he’s made this year. Daimere is a hard worker who has the chance to develop into a solid leader as he becomes more vocal.”

Stephens-Stewart has many more seasons, both indoor and outdoor, to leave his mark on Point Park’s track and field program, Spisak said.

“I look forward to Daimere’s continued improvement as an athlete,” said Spisak. “If he keeps doing the right things, he will have a great career here and has a chance to qualify for our national championship meet and be an All-American, in addition to winning many more conference championships. I’m also looking forward to his growth outside of track – as a student who continues to improve academically and as a leader for the other athletes on our team. He has great potential in both of these areas.”