Sprinters, relay team are national track champs
Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 5:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 5:49 p.m.
Six young track athletes from Gainesville finished the track season as national champions, while more than a dozen others earned medals at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics National Track and Field Meet.
The event was held two weekends ago at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich., with Jaren Hamilton of the One Room School House in northeast Gainesville capturing the national championship in the 100-meter race with a time of 14.08 in the boys 8-year-old division, Tamari Davis of Pure Athletics Track Club winning the 100 with a time of 12.86 and the 200 with a time of 26.55 in the girls 10-year-old division, and the Pure Athletics 4x100 relay team of Kenric Young, Craig Joiner, Antonio James and Dontarian Evans winning the 4x100 with a time of 41.24 in the young men's division. Tamari also set the national record in the 100 with a time of 12.86.
Below is a list of other winners from Gainesville. The top eight finishers in each event received medals.
* Second place: Jalasia Tillman of Pure Athletics in the 100 with a time of 12:34 in the girls 13 and under division; Pure Athletics 4x800 relay team of Searra Woods, Janay Shuler, Shaleyia Lee and Nadiria Evans with a time of 9:41.17 in the girls 13- to 14-year-old division.
* Third place: Pure Athletics 4x100 relay team of Jalasia, Diasia Medley, Adhana Pennant and Keondria Waters with a time of 48.40 in the girls 13- to 14-year-old division.
* Fourth place: Nadiria in the 800 with a time of 2:15.51 in the girls 14-year-old division.
* Fifth place: Antonio in the 100 with a time of 10.67 in the young men's division; Pure Athletics 4x100 relay team of Adhana, Searra, Diasia and Nadiria with a time of 3.55.44 in the girls 13- to 14-year-old division and Twaneise Johnson of the Gainesville Striders Track Club in the 400 with a time of 1:09.05 in the girl's 9-year-old division.
* Sixth place: Nia Flagg of Pure Athletics in the 100 with a time of 12.10 in the girl's 15- to 16-year-old division; Kenric in the 200 with a time of 21.76 in the young men's division; Shaleyia in the 800 with a time of 2:16.59 in the girls 14-year-old division; Jalasia in the 200 with a time of 26.46 in the girls 13-year-old division and the Striders' 4x400 relay team of Twaneise, Shaniya Wilson, Reva Godbolt and Taylor Miles-Hill with a time of 4:46.75 in the girls 10-year-old division.
* Seventh place: Keondria in the long jump with a leap of 16 feet and four inches in the girls 14-year-old division and Nadiria in the 1,500 with a time of 4:56.51 in the girls 14-year-old division.
* Eighth place: Pure Athletics Jeremy Lawson in the triple jump with a leap of 42 feet and ¾ inches in the boys 15- to 16-year-old division.
Several weeks before the Junior Olympics, the Striders had several athletes medal at the AAU Primary Nationals and Club Nationals at the ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
The Striders' 4x100 team of Willie Reid, Devin Berry, Darien Douglas and Torrey Richardson placed seventh with a time of 48.08 in the boys 14-year-old division in the Club Nationals and the 4x100 team of Ni'aira McCaskill, Rhamani Sheppard-Rentz, Maggie Fogler and Jataysia Sheppard with a time of 1:11.94 in the girls 8-year-old division in the Primary Nationals.
Gary Evans, coach of Pure Athletics, said U.S. Olympian Tyson Gay was at the national championships to cheer for the athletes, while also pitching in and giving some of the athletes massages during the meet. Evans is a professional track coach for the Adidas Track Club, which sponsors Gay and other top professional track and field athletes. Members of the club sponsor Pure Athletics.
"He was there the whole week with us and he really enjoyed it and loved every minute of it," Evans said.
Evans, who said Gainesville and Alachua County were represented well at nationals, believes the future is bright for track and field in the area. He said the athletes who received medals, as well as the ones who didn't, competed with hundreds of other athletes from around the nation.
Although the season is over, athletes only have a couple of months before they start conditioning drills for the 2014 season.
Larry Holsey, longtime executive director of the Striders, said the club will be forming a cross-country team that will begin practicing at 6 p.m. Sept. 9 at Fred Cone Park at 2841 E. University Ave. He said the team will be for ages 6 and older and practice will be held every Monday and Thursday.
"We are encouraging parents to come out as well because we want this to also be something that can help people get in shape and have healthier lives," Holsey said.
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