This article was originally posted by the Gainesville Sun.
Youth track and field athletes from Gainesville turned in phenomenal performances at separate events over the last two weekends at the ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando.
On July 7, Jalen Hamilton of Lincoln Estates in southeast Gainesville, broke the U.S. record for 8-year-olds in the 200-meter dash when he ran a 28.55 at the Amateur Athletic Union Primary National Championships, eclipsing the previous record of 28.56 in 2011 by Ashton Allen of the Odenton, Md.-based Full Speed Athletics.
And last Sunday, while competing in the girls 14 and under division, Pure Athletics Track Club won the AAU Club National Championship by outscoring No. 1-ranked Mount Airy Track Club of Philadelphia 69-64. Jalen, who attends the One Room School House in northeast Gainesville, said he didn’t know he was going to break the record, even though he felt good about his chances of winning the race.
“I was kind of nervous before the race, and I kind of knew I was going to win because I knew I was faster than the other real fast boy in the race,” said Jalen, adding that he was very excited after finding out he had broken the record. “I was super excited and felt like I was in the Olympics.”
Jalen represented One Room at the meet. His parents are Aundrae and Valaria Hamilton.
Pure Athletics captured the championship in the girls 14-year-old division by placing first in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 49.40. Members of the team were Jalasia Tillman, Diasia Medley, Adhana Pennant and Keondria Waters.
Also, the club’s 4x800 team consisting of Janay Shuler, Searra Woods, Shaleyia Lee and Nadiria Evans placed second with a time of 9:43.99 and the 4x400 team of Diasia Medley, Searra Woods, Shaleyia Lee and Nadiria Evans also placed second with a time of 3:54.35.
“We went into the final day 20 points down,” Gary Evans, coach of Pure Athletics, wrote in an email from Amsterdam, where he is training athletes sponsored by Adidas for the World Championships that will be held next month in Russia. Evans also wrote that he was monitoring the meet from Amsterdam and his athletes promised to “leave everything on the track” in their quest to become champions.
Evans wrote that other outstanding performances at the meet included Jalasia placing first in the 100 with a time of 12.48 in the 13-year-old division; Keondria placing third in the long jump with a jump of 16-1 ½ in the 14-year-old division and Kenric Young placing third in the boys 400 with a time of 48.47 and fourth in the 200 with a time of 21.68 in the 17- to 18-year-old division.
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