Track athletes from Lexington club participate in National Junior Olympics

(PHOTO BY THOMAS GRANT JR.) Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission Youth Track Club members and their parents. Starting from left – Sally Miedema, Kaden Murray, Caroline Near, William Smith, Director Anna Owens, Ricky Smith, Isabelle Smith and Tra’liyah Gardner. Not pictured is Jamey Patterson II

The Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission’s Youth Track Club sent five runners to Sacramento, CA this week.

They participated in the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships. It was the largest group sent to the national championships by the Youth Track team.

Many of them medaled at state and southeastern regional events. They were:
•Jamey Patterson II (age 10) – An AAU National champion who qualified for the 100 and 200 meters and long jump.
•Kaden Murray (age 7) – qualified for the 800 and 1,500 meters and javelin throw
•Caroline Near (age 8) – qualified for the javelin throw and 1,500 meters
•William Smith (age 11) – qualified for the 3,000 meters
•Tra’Liyah Gardner (age 7) – qualified for the 100 and 200 meters, where she placed first at the state, and third and fifth at the regional.

In recent years, the club has enabled young runners to earn medals and compete around the country.

“We’ve grown the program tremendously,” program director Anna Owen said. “We’ve given the kids an opportunity to now compete not only at a local level, but we’ve taken them all over the state. We’ve given them the chance to compete against kids that are from different states, all over the country. The recreation commission has done an amazing job of helping us get off the ground in making sure that the kids are fully supported. That they have everything they need and everything we can possibly give them to make them stronger and better athletes.

“On a personal level, we really work hard with the kids on core values. We talk about teammate and perseverance and sportsmanship and everything we want our kids to grow into not only as athletes, but as young adults as they continue into school and into other sports.

“I would like for them to just bask in the glory of how much they have accomplished this year and how much all the hard work they’ve put in since the very end of February and previous seasons for all of these kids mostly… how those little steps can make such a big impact,” Owens added. “The little things things you do today turn into huge great things tomorrow as long as you keep at it.”

Categories: Lexington, Lexington County, Sports