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Memorial track meet for Central, Evangel athlete raises money to help other students

Claudette Riley
Springfield News-Leader
Deverin King graduated from Central High School in 2022.

The family of a student athlete at Central High School and Evangel University killed last year in a motorcycle accident have found a way to keep his memory alive and help others.

The inaugural — in honor of Deverin Lamont King — is set for 5 p.m. Saturday, June 1 at Harrison Stadium, 900 N. Summit Ave.

The track meet will support Deverin's Locker, a nonprofit through the Ambassadors for Children at the Council of Churches of the Ozarks. It helps provide school-age children with new and used sporting equipment. It also helps cover sports fees for students who face financial barriers.

Anita King, Deverin's mother, started the nonprofit as a way to honor her son and to help the families of other children who love to play sports but may sometimes struggle with how to cover all the costs.

"Deverin was insanely talented in sports and that was where you saw him shine. Anything he tried, he was good at," she said Monday. "Being able to share that and help students in the area is how we want to honor his name."

Deverin King in the middle with, from left, Maycee Downey, grandfather Keith Smith, mother Anita King, and grandmother Linda Smith.

The family hopes to raise $10,000 with this first event, through donations from individuals and businesses. Admission to the event is $5 and participation is $15. The event is open to all.

"They can choose any of the events," said Anita King. "We hope to get a lot of participants. That is the fun part."

The events include:

  • 100m Hurdles
  • 100m Race
  • 200m Race
  • 800m Race
  • 1600m Race
  • 100m Hurdles Relay
  • 4×100 Relay
  • 4×400 Relay
  • Sprint Medley Relay - 200, 200, 400, 800
  • Inflatable Race (fun run with inflatable costumes – all ages)
  • Toddler Run (age 5 and under)

The Evangel freshman had finished with classes and was going home for a quick break before he was due back to campus for track practice March 30, 2023, when he died in a collision on Glenstone Avenue. A truck crossed in the path of his motorcycle.

The 2022 Central graduate played multiple sports but focused heavily on track and field through high school. He turned down scholarship offers from more than a dozen colleges to stay close to family and friends at Evangel.

Deverin King, a student athlete at Evangel University, was killed in a March 2023 crash on Glenstone Avenue.

He initially majored in the digital arts but then decided to pursue elementary education.

The son of Anita King and Deon King grew up with four sisters in Springfield and was good at every sport he tried. He was fast, agile and eager.

More:Family, coach mourn Central High and Evangel student athlete killed in motorcycle crash

A plaque dedicated at Central highlighted a few of his accomplishments as a student athlete:

  • He loved to run hurdles and broke two school records at Pershing Middle School;
  • He placed sixth in the 200m hurdles at the 2018 Junior National Olympics;
  • He set a new 300m hurdles record as a junior at Central High School, breaking a record that stood for 41 years;
  • He reset a 300m hurdles record as a senior at Central while at the Missouri State High School Track meet, where he finished in the top seven.

Anita King said figuring out a way to pay for all of his athletic fees and equipment meant making sacrifices. She wants to give back by helping other families.

A plaque honoring the contributions of Central High School student athlete Deverin King was dedicated.

"With Deverin being in so many sports, it was a juggling act for me to figure out how to pay for this or that," she said. "It was hard for me to say no because he was so talented."

The nonprofit has been collecting new and gently used sports equipment and hopes to raise enough to pay for up to $250 toward sports-related fees for a student athlete.

For more information, or to register, go to .

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