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His coach said he could be a state champ. Now he will be the 1st in his family to go to college

'It's special. A lot of track kids don't get full offers,'
Posted at 12:43 AM, Apr 25, 2022

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. -- Lamont Victoria's first chance to make the Prince George track team was less than memorable.

“I had like Air Force ones, and some skinny jeans," Lamont Victoria said. “So I didn't really know I was really doing.”

“Soon as I seen that outfit I said, oh I'm cutting him," explained Coach William Stevens.

After that rocky beginning, Lamont made a lasting impression off one jump.

"So I bring everybody out to the high jump mat...and he scissors kick like six feet with skinny jeans on," Coach Stevens mentioned. “I said, 'Well, wait a minute. Tomorrow, I'll bring you some shoes out.'”

“I came out here for like the sprint," Victoria expressed. “But again, I was not a sprinter and it showed on the track.”

Which began a decorated career that few thought would happen after that initial meeting.

"He was like, 'Trust the process,'" Victoria recalled. “It's gonna come to you. You just got to trust it. Trust me... it is just a process.”

Prince George High School Coach William Stevens.
Prince George High School Coach William Stevens.

“I just felt like I know what I told him from day one," Coach Stevens commented. “It finally came true.”

Lamont developed a close bond with Coach Stevens — almost a father-son relationship — when he needed it the most.

“Yeah, I definitely needed some structure because I was like, I was kind of wild," Victoria admitted.

“When I was dropping Lamont off, and we started going to track meets, and nobody showed up, nobody showed up for at least two years," Coach Stevens remembered. “My wife was really on board with us bringing Lamont in... you know, as our own.”

Lamont was only seven when his mother died.

“My mom was like really like, easygoing. And that's how I that's how I kind of remember," Victoria said.

And he did not see his father on a regular basis.

“It's kind of hard. Because when I was little, he was in and out," Victoria remembered. “He came in and out of jail a lot. So I barely got to see him."

Lamont Victoria
Lamont Victoria

During his time on the track team, Lamont's trust level towards Coach Stevens grew, in ways very few were able to attain.

“He visited my house one day, and he can tell my lights was off," Victoria explained. “I try to hide it, you know, but he saw it, you know, he helped me out with and I appreciate it.”

“We spend a lot of time together, I picked him up for track meets, I take them home from practice every day," Coach Stevens said, “Sometimes before meets, he stayed with us.”

Lamont's hard work paid off in February of 2020, when he won his first State Championship in the high jump as a sophomore with a jump of 6'4.

“I didn't even know I won until he called my name and was like, 'Lamont, congratulations,'" Victoria remembered.

“I told him that from day one, you could be a state champ," Coach Stevens mentioned.

Lamont Victoria
Lamont Victoria

In December 2021, after he captured both the Indoor and Outdoor State Titles, Lamont claimed the number one high jump mark in the country at that time, when he cleared 6 feet, 10 inches.

“ I was like, 'No way, no way," Victoria said.

“Well, I know he could jump, he can be the best of Virginia," Coach Stevens said.

“Everybody was cheering, the other coaches that me up I was like, yeah, it was it was fine. Nothing. Something I'll never forget," Victoria said.

Perhaps Lamont's biggest achievement happened away from the mat, when he accepted an offer from North Carolina Central University this fall. He will be the first from his family to go to college.

“Tears came out of that. Tears came out of that," said Victoria.

“I've kind of teared up, too," Coach Stevens said. “Because, it's special. A lot of track kids don't get full offers. You know, they might get partial, but to get a full ride and well-deserved full ride.”

As far as what the athletic future holds, Lamont has visions of representing the red, white and blue.

“My goal is to be in the Olympics," Victoria said. “You know, I really, I really want to put forth that goal.”

“He's about what he's supposed to do. He's you know, he's embracing that," Coach Stevens said. “Be a good kid. I always tell kids you know, see yourself winning first. But you know, be a good kid.”