Excelling in the heat
Twenty-four locals head to Games
The Charles County Elite Track & Field Club recently sent 24 of its athletes to compete in the AAU Junior Olympic Games held July 30 to Aug. 6 in Humble, Texas.
The athletes punched their tickets during a district qualifier held June 11 to 12 at C.H. Flowers High School in Prince George’s County and then the nationals, which were held June 24 to 26 at the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex in Landover.
The top four relays, top five finishers in field events and top six in track events all qualified for the Junior Olympic Games, which featured more than 10,000 athletes competing in brutal 100-plus-degree weather.
“They did well,” said coach Pamela Muhammad. “With the heat wave we had I think it really played into how they were able to hold up in that Texas heat and perform well because they’ve been practicing in 90-, 95-degree-plus.”
Raven Kennedy had the team’s highest finish of the games when she placed 15th in the Midget girls (age 12) 200-meter dash with a time of 26.94 seconds. Kennedy also ran a 13.29 in the semifinals of the 100 meters to finish 20th.
“I’m happy with how I did, but I think I could have done better if it wasn’t as hot as it was,” Kennedy said of the 100. “My start could have been better [but] it was kind of good.”
“She’s from another club and she was a distance runner [for them], but we knew she was a sprinter,” Muhammad said. “Once we transitioned her over [to sprints] she’s been running the lights out ever since.”
Christian Wilbon placed 20th in the Sub-Bantam boys (age 12) 200 dash semifinal with a time of 29.60.
“I needed to keep my form, lift my knees and have a good start,” Wilbon said. “[Running against tough competition] made me run better. I like a challenge. It makes me do better.”
In the 100, Wilbon won his second heat with a 14.04 and then clocked a 14.13 in the semifinals, good for 16th place. He was also named All-American after winning the 55 dash during nationals during the indoor season.
Wilbon won his heat in the 200 dash competing as a 9-year-old. Also, Wilbon won nationals last fall in the 60 dash.
“Yes I am happy,” he said, “Last year I didn’t make it as far. I could have done better and my goal is to make it to the final.”
Nine-year-old Mickey Green, Jr. clocked a 29.79 in the 200 semifinals and a 14.76 in the 100 quarterfinals in the Sub-Bantam Boys division.
Cameron Homer ran a 15.74 in the 100 and a 32.91 in the 200 Primary boys (8-and-Under).
“He’s new to track but he had a lot of natural athletic ability,” Muhammad said. “He needed to work on his conditioning and his technique, but for a newbie to track he did extremely well. It’s a lot of pressure when you’re new to track and then you’re put on a relay. We were very proud of his results.”
Also in the 100, 12-yearold Christian Homer clocked 13.60 in the Midget boys race while teammate Brian Dowdell, 11, added a time of 14.45 in the Sub-Midget boys division.
“Our little rockstar for the games in terms of attitude and spirit was Christian Homer,” Muhammad said. “He is the do-anything-you-ask-him kind of kid. Whatever you need him to do he’s ‘Yes, coach.’”
In the Sub-Midget girls division, Nazara Muhammad tossed the Turbo Javelin 41 inches to place 39th.
Kierra Marshall also clocked a 13.28 in the Intermediate girls (ages 15 and 16) 100.
In the Primary boys 400 relay, Homer, Bryce Carrington, Yeshua McKinley and Miles Meriweather finished in 1 minute 4.22 seconds.
Green Jr., Wilbon, Messiah McKinley and Darius Harrell recorded 1:00.35 in the Sub-Bantam boys (age 9) 400 relay.
Tyquan Dyer-Ashton, Odell Jackson, Jr., Trevon Marshall and Donovan Stanley-Reeves finished 35th in the Youth boys 400 relay with a time of 50.52.
“He’s got some really good natural athletic ability,” Pamela Muhammad said of Donovan. “We just got him this outdoor season and we’ve been working on tweaking his technique so we can get his speed up even faster. He was going through a growth spurt in his hip plexus so he ran with pain, but because he hates to lose it was no big deal for him. But I promise you for indoor and next outdoor season you will hear Donovan Stanley-Reeves’ name.”
In the girls relays, Channa Hayes, Jada Johnson, De’Boray Munu and Marshall placed 46th with a time of 53.41 in the Intermediate girls 400-meter relay race.
And Kayla Jones, Samantha Meriweather, Miketta Anderson and Sanai’ Haythe broke the tape in the 100 in 55.49, good for 48th in the 400 relay.
“She’s another one who hates to lose,” Muhammad said. “She’s going to give everything she has. The best anchor you could ask for.”
The team, which is comprised of 80 members ages 4 to 19, will begin its indoor season after Veteran’s Day with practices at John Hanson Middle School in Waldorf.
The Charles County Elite Track & Field Club recently competed in the Junior Olympic games in Humble, Texas. In the front row, from left, are Christian Wilbon, Miles Meriweather, Bryce Carrington, Jr., Cameron Homer, Yeshua McKinley, Messiah McKinley and Mickey Green, Jr. In the middle row are Christian Homer, De’Boray Munu, Trevon Marshall, Kayla Jones, Brian Dowdell and Nazara Muhammad. In the back row are Channa Hayes, Raven Kennedy, Samantha Meriweather, Sanai’ Haythe, Tyquan Dyer-Ashton, Kierra Marshall, Miketta Anderson and Odell Jackson, Jr. Not pictured are Jadon Davis, Donovan Stanley-Reeves and Jada Johnson.