A Rewarding Track Season Comes to an End!
2019 USATF Region 15 Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships
The track season came to an end for our athletes on Sunday, June 23, 2019. Words cannot express how proud we are of them for maintaining a positive attitude and consistently putting forth their best effort to improve.
What started out as a season with modest expectation, transformed into one of great expectation as our athletes put forth extraordinary effort. Improve is exactly what happened as each saw their PR’s drop as the season progressed. Hard work definitely equals success as each advanced from association to regionals as a top eight finisher. At regionals, each held their own against some of the West Coast’s best. As I think back on the season, I am most proud of our young athletes’ ability to mentally overcome the many obstacles that could have derailed their season. Obstacles such as injuries, sickness, etc.
Below you’ll find a perspective from the outside looking in for each of LVER’s young runners.
Kaiyah Davis-Mitchell – Kaiyah is a gifted sprinter with a bright future. Moderate targets for her at the beginning of the season were 12.8 100m, 25.8 200m and a 59 400m. After running cross country, Kaiyah started the season strong, posting very good times in the 200m and consistently dropping her 400m time. Halfway through the season, Kaiyah injured her foot and hip to the point everyone thought her season was lost. For Kaiyah, not running again was not an option as she followed doctors’ instructions and worked tirelessly to return to the track. The silver lining for Kaiyah is that her setback caused her to be more attentive to instruction and have a more positive demeanor. After Kaiyah returned, she was determined to work her way back into race shape but had very little time to do so. With each practice, we started to see times that had ballooned due to her layoff, drop drastically. After thinking she may not make it out of association, Kaiyah started to make everyone believers again. Although she barely made the cut to regionals as the seventh qualifier, Kaiyah’s improvement allowed her to beat four runners that previously finished in front of her.
If only she had more time, she could have finished higher and achieved her goals, but that wasn’t what God had in store for her. For some reason, Kaiyah had to go through this but I believe she is better because of it. If what we started to see at the end of this season in practice is an indication of next season, Kaiyah will make plenty of noise.
Jeramiah Davis – Jeramiah is an amazing talent. I say this because he is blessed with a unique combination of talent, work ethic, determination and coachability in practice. He does what he’s asked and always strives to surpass expectations. As the season progressed, Jeramiah became a student of running. He asked intelligent, probing questions and studied his competition. This change was spurred by his race success where his confidence exploded. What was joyful about Jeramiah’s transformation is that his confidence was not arrogant. It was manifested by a quiet confidence that is fitting when you think of his personality. Jeramiah’s work ethic in practice translated to the track as he consistently set PRs throughout the year in the 400m and 800m. Whether it was practice or a race, many came away impressed with him and offered praise. So, what is Jeramiah’s most impressive running trait? I must point to his closing speed. There were very few races this year that he didn’t out sprint his competition or finish a race by passing at least three runners. If you get to know Jeramiah, you’ll find he possesses a determination that is not the norm. This has always been obvious in the classroom where he became a new inductee this year in the National Junior Honor Society and was a member of the Student Council. It is the first time we have seen it in sports and will one day result in him being one of the best runners in Nevada.
Razzaq Thomas – Razzaq is a uniquely talented young man. He is an elite talent on the football field, which is not surprising when you see him. His physical stature allows him to excel as a top running back in his age group, but there’s more to this young man than what meets the eye. Razzaq excels in the classroom and as a double bass player. When Razzaq first joined our team, the goal was to improve his 40 speed and to improve his form. Essentially, we were tasked with turning a football player with short tight powerful strides into a sprinter. This took some time initially, but it wasn’t for lack of effort from Razzaq. He is truly a respectful, intelligent young man that does everything asked of him. Over the course of five months, Razzaq went from not being able to fully run one complete lap without stopping to being able to complete a mile warm up / cool down and numerous repeats, ladder and sprint workouts ranging from 50m-300m. His start and stride length improved drastically to the point we didn’t recognize him from the runner that started the season. His hard work resulted in his 100m time dropping close to 2 seconds. Razzaq went on to advance from association to regionals, completing his first year in outstanding fashion. Razzaq possess all the tools to be an elite sprinter which will make him a force on the football field. Keep your eye out for this impressive young man, whether it’s listening to him jam on his double bass, sprint on the track or run for 80 yard touchdowns in football.
Lilianah Davis – Lilianah “Lili” started the year as a reluctant distance runner. She ran a couple of cross country races but decided it wasn’t for her and stopped running. While Lili was unsure of herself, our founder saw something special in her and asked Lili to please run track. With the support of her parents and siblings, Lili decided to give it a try. What she couldn’t see in herself was that she is a graceful, beautiful runner that made running look easy. This became more evident as the Lili tried races from 400m to 1500m. After evaluating her performance and talking to Lili, we decided to make the 800m her primary event and used other events to supplement her training. To our amazement Lili started to flourish as an 800m runner. In one meet, coaches offered a challenge/reward to Lili and she went on to record her best times of the year. She too made the finals at the association meet, then went on to qualify for regionals. Of all our runners, Lili made the biggest improvement from season start to finish. Most impressive was her ability to establish a quick pace and keep it for prolonged periods without slowing, which is outstanding. At times it was a little bit of a roller coaster ride during races, but she sorted through it all, learning not to start slow or run from behind. Once she learned to stay in the mix initially and work her way to the front, it was on! Lili is a joyful, refreshing, bright, intelligent young lady that can take her running to new heights if she sees in herself what others see – a graceful, beautiful runner that pushes the pace to the point that everyone is chasing her!
Jordan Gowdy – Considering this was Jordan’s first year of competitive running, he was exceptional. When we first met Jordan, the first thing that stood out was his quiet soft-spoken nature. After seeing him run, we saw this small kid that runs and runs and runs and keeps up with the older kids. He didn’t know how to run longer race distances and ran to exhaustion in his first race. What was most impressive is he wouldn’t give up. Mentally Jordan is as tough as they come. He is a coach’s dream because he never complains, and he does exactly what’s asked of him. In Jordan’s second race he went on to challenge the leader and finish second in a very experienced field of runners. Jordan parlayed his success in cross country to the track where he tried the 100, 200, 400, 800 and long jump. While he performed well in all, Jordan produced the best results in 400m, 800m and long jump and advanced to the USATF Region 15 Championships. This was an exceptional accomplishment for Jordan, a first year runner who is the youngest in his age group. Everyone that sees Jordan run comes away fascinated because although he is small in stature, he is a giant on the track and gives older runners all they can handle. Jordan has all the tools to excel in running and in the classroom. He is a straight A Student and was president of his class. He has a supportive family, a positive attitude, determination and talent. As Jordan’s running takes him to new heights, he will have many supporters cheering him on simply because he is a very special, likable kid who works very hard!