Track Star Daunte Bell Dashes Past Hurdles To Triumph

Featured Athlete


Daunte Bell

Daunte Bell running the 300m at the Coaches Hall of Fame meet, where he placed 2nd.

Zach Zanders, Staff Writer

Fear, and a spine-chilling shiver running into and out of their body, with all hope of winning going with it. This is what most feel when racing against him. He might be a figure of fright on the field, but those who know him well off the track will tell you quite the opposite. 11th grader Duante Bell is a national-tier sprinter here on our track and field team with a striking, methodical outlook on the way he works.

Bell’s gift of speed has allowed him to travel all across Pennsylvania for various track and field competitions. He made it to the state-wide competition within the first year of practice, a feat not many can even dream of achieving due to its strict standards of performance. 

Getting into States is a massive achievement for anyone, but for Bell, what came after was even more extravagant. After shattering records in a relay race with other Norristown runners, Bell was selected to run in that season’s National event, hosted in NYC. Only the best from around the country even have a chance to compete, and he had been chosen with only a few months of practice prior.

Bell didn’t let this seemingly daunting event get him uptight though, he enjoyed the opportunity, “Going to nationals and states was so fun,” he said. “[I] got to stay overnight, I got to hang out with friends, it was such a great experience, and the coaches paid for everything.” He doesn’t let heavy responsibilities weigh him down and tries to stay as positive as he can whenever possible. This mindset would eventually lead him to North Carolina for the AAU Jr. Olympics in the summer of 2022.

Despite his success, however, track wasn’t always part of Bell’s plan.

Prior to joining the team for the indoor season in his sophomore year, Bell played baseball for around 10 years of his life. “Baseball was my life, everything, even my room revolved around baseball. It was the only thing I ever did,” he said. 

So how did this all change within the span of the first few months of 10th grade? Well, Bell originally planned to run track in freshman year, but due to COVID restrictions, he wasn’t able to. At the beginning of his Sophomore year, these restrictions were relaxed, so Bell tried out for the indoor track team. 

At first, he found himself questioning if he should start track because of his long-term commitment to baseball.

“Baseball is my thing. I could be bad at track,” he said.  “I’ve done baseball for so long so why would I give that up now?” Bell took the risk and was immediately noticed for his stunning speed in an acceleration test by head coach Milton Williams, who instantly stationed him to train with the sprinters.

Practices were body-wrenching, and they made Bell think about whether or not he should continue at all. “During track, I questioned a lot if I should quit or not, just because of how hard it is, and taxing it is on your body.” This left Bell in a spot with two options: quit and go back to baseball, or push through the physical and mental barrier halting his efforts. 

He chose the unpleasant but more fruitful choice. 

“Track is very much a mental sport; you need the right mindset to push through that barrier, to keep going and wanting to get better.” Bell stuck with it, kept pushing, and it all paid off for him in the end. 

It was near the end of the indoor season when he realized that he wanted to drop baseball altogether, as that was the time he made it to state championships.

In this decision, he set himself up for greatness. Bell, only a matter of months after this choice, went to Nationals, the Penn Relays, which is the most recognized and longest-running track convention in the US, and as previously mentioned, the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics, which was held during the summer of that same year of 2022. 

Despite these major accomplishments, balancing track and life outside was and still is a difficult task. Being able to make time for things outside of track was Bell’s biggest challenge.

“I would be getting home at 6 o’clock, still have to eat, shower, but then also do my homework,” he said. “You didn’t have really a lot of free time at home to do what you want.” 

He realized that he had to make sacrifices in order to secure a future for himself and devote himself to it. “I know track will help me get to college, and help me set my future, so I just dropped everything. I did my schoolwork, did track, and so hopefully my future will be nice.”

To Bell, track is a worthy investment that at times may be loathsome, but in the end, is a decision he won’t ever regret. 

Free meals and hotel rooms aside, running has presented an overwhelmingly positive opportunity for Bell to set up his future and relish in doing so. Running, while sometimes difficult, is something he’ll stick with for a long time to come, appreciating every step and stride of the way.