Many families traveled to the 2013 AAU Junior Olympic Games in Detroit, Michigan to participate in the various events, but the Perryman family was a bit busier than most. While competing in multiple track and field events with their club, Cleveland Express, all four kids, ages 9 through 17, also competed in the Feats of Strength combine.
The oldest Perryman, Gabrielle, joined the AAU when she was 10 and was the first of her siblings to compete in the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2007. Since then, playing AAU sports has become a lifestyle for their whole family. They’ve been to every Junior Olympic Games tournament since 2007 and mom, Grace, says the event is always a huge part of their summer.
“It’s a great experience for the kids to have an opportunity to compete against athletes from all over the country and it’s really awesome,” said Grace. “What I’ve found over the years is it really gives the kids great confidence when they’re competing with their home school and their home state. They have such a great level of confidence because they know they’ve competed against the best in the country.”
This year was no different, but as the Perryman’s prepared for the Junior Olympic Games, they added another sport to their list.
“We were excited to see the new All Sports Combine this year,” said Grace. “It combines some of the track and field skills with some other strength and conditioning type skills and we thought that this would be an awesome opportunity to give that a try and we were just really impressed with how the event turned out. The team as a whole did very well and it’s definitely something we’re going to want to do again.”
And she wasn’t exaggerating when she did her team excelled in the event. All four of her children competed and placed in the Feats of Strength Combine along with another teammate.
Greg Perryman, the only boy and youngest, placed second in the 8 and 9 year old division in the Feats of Strength Combine. He also participated in the 800M, 4X400, and Javelin events for track and field where he placed 60th, 23rd, and 30th overall, respectively.
At 11 years old, Ashley Perryman took first place in the 10th and 11th year old division in the Feats of Strength Combine. In track and field, she placed 16th overall in the Pentathlon, 34th in the long jump overall, 44th in the 800M, and her 4X400M team came in 30th overall.
Sister Katelyn Perryman placed third in the 12 and 13 year old division in the Feats of Strength Combine and participated in four other track and field events. In the Discus, she placed 23rd overall and 17th in the shot put. On the track, she came in 34th and 39th respectively in the 4X400M and the 4X100M.
Last but certainly not least, 17 year old Gabrielle Perryman took first place in the 16 and 17 year old age division in the Feats of Strength Combine. She also placed 53rd overall in the triple jump.
The young AAU members compete with many friends on the Cleveland Express track and field team, but Grace says one of their favorite parts about the event is meeting other members at the Junior Olympic Games.
“We have enjoyed the event as a whole, the travel and having the opportunity to participate in the Celebration of Athletes and each of the kids have the opportunity to meet other kids from other states and they’ve actually been able to keep in contact with some people they’ve met through the Junior Olympic Games.”
Cleveland Express teammate, India Pulphus, competed in the 10 and 11 year old division with Ashley Perryman and finished just behind Perryman, placing second.
Grace says, “It’s truly a great experience and it’s probably something that we will continue to do until our youngest goes off to college.”
And the AAU hopes to see the Perryman family continue their Junior Olympic Games tradition! Thank you to the Perryman family, Cleveland Express, and ALL of the athletes in the 2013 Junior Olympic Games for traveling to Detroit this year and we hope to see you again next year!
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