By Steve Williams

Gashaw Duhamel has won a lot of races in his decorated prep career, but his greatest victory has been making Tennessee School for the Deaf very proud.

The announcement that TSD athletic director Luke Benson e-mailed to The Knoxville Focus and other media outlets last Thursday tells it all:

“Gashaw Duhamel is signing with the University of Tennessee Track and Field/Cross Country Team! He’s the first ever Division I Student-Athlete from TSD! #TSDVikings”

He signed with the Vols on May 6.

Duhamel first made noise on the high school track scene as a sophomore in the spring of 2014 when he set national deaf prep records in winning the 1600-meter run in 4 minutes, 25.98 seconds and the 3200 in 9:41.19 at the 7th Berg/Seeger Classic, a national meet for deaf schools.

Gashaw went back to the 9th Berg/Seeger Classic this spring and won the 3200 in a record 9:37.65.

As a junior in the fall of 2014, Duhamel made his debut on the TSSAA state level. Participating with Oak Ridge High School in the TSSAA’s cooperative program, he finished 11th in the Class AAA state cross country championships with a time of 16 minutes, 19.24 seconds as his team placed third.

He finished 10th at the state cross country meet as a senior last fall, posting a 16:20.01 and the Oak Ridge team took second place.

Again running with Oak Ridge during the indoor track season this past winter, Duhamel won the indoor 2-mile state title with a time of 9:38.97.

Duhamel will be trying to qualify for the TSSAA state outdoor meet in the 3200 event Thursday in the Class A-AA East Sectional at Christian Academy of Knoxville. If he makes it to the TSSAA Spring Fling in Murfreesboro, the state 3200 run will be May 27.

And Benson, the TSD athletic director, ended his list of Gashaw’s career highlights with this final note:

“Will be a member of the University of Tennessee Track and Field/Cross Country Team this fall!”