Natural Talent, Natchitoches’ summer track team, competed at the USATF Regional Track Meet July 8-9 in Huntsville, Alabama at Alabama A&M University. Throughout the weekend, Natural Talent had 12 athletes place in the top five to qualify them for the National Meet.
“The team has put in a lot of challenging work at practice that has put them in a position to compete at Nationals. Their performance this weekend exceeded all other teams in Region VI.” Coach Emanuel Zanders stated.
Saturday’s events saw three Natchitoches athletes punch their tickets to Nationals in the field events. Derrick Sowell finished 3rd in the 8 and under Long Jump with a jump of 10-08. Anthony Moses kept the ball rolling finishing 1st in the Long Jump (age 13-14) with a jump of 19-08. Marien White finished 5th in the Shot Put (age 9-10) with a personal best throw of 16-10.
It was a huge weekend for the Sowell Family as Demarion and Devin Sowell joined their brother Derrick as all three qualified for Nationals. Demarion finished 3rd in the Triple Jump (age 13-14) with a jump of 35-05.75 and Devin finished 5th in the Triple Jump (age 15-16) with a jump of 39-07.
“I was very happy that so many of us qualified. It wouldn’t be the same without my friends going to support each other.” Anthony stated.
Sunday’s running events saw major success with nine more athletes qualifying for Nationals. Aaniyah Hardwell got things going early with a 4th place finish in the 1,500m (age 13-14) run with a new personal best of 5:58.03. Moses qualified in his 2nd event, finishing 2nd in the 200m hurdles (age 13-14) with a time of 26.63.
After a record breaking performance two weeks ago, the 4X100 relay team of Moses, Robin Mathes, Trenton Bradley and Kyron Dunn backed up their performance with another 1st place finish in the 13-14 age division with a time of 46.44.
“It was a big relief because until the district meet we hadn’t competed in a relay. This time our nerves were high, and we just wanted to get it right.” Moses said.
Mathes went on to finish 5th in the Triple Jump (age 13-14) with a jump of 34-04. Bradley set a new personal best of 54.56 in the 400m dash (age 13-14), finishing 3rd. He also finished 2nd in the 100m dash with a time of 11.62 and 3rd in the 200m dash (24.13). Moses finished 2nd place in the 100m hurdles, qualifying him for Nationals in four different events.
One stand-out performance was Ava Moses’ 4th place finish in the 8 and under 400m dash. After battling cramps and competing against people two years older than her, Moses ran a new fastest time of 1:22.31 to qualify for nationals.
Marquez “Macho” Stevenson had a come from behind 1st place finish in the 400m dash (age 11-12), qualifying him for his first of three top-five finishes. He finished 2nd in the 200m dash with a time of 27.24 and 3rd in the 100m dash (13.13).
Jeremiah Miles finished 4th place in the 100 and 200m dashes (age 11-12) to qualify for Nationals. He also finished 5th in the High Jump with a height of 4-03.
Natural Talent will head to Lawrence, Kan. for the USATF Junior Olympic Championships July 24-30 in hopes of competing to win the National Youth Championship.
“My goal is the same for every track meet for everyone. I want them to beat their personal best. If that means they become National Youth Champion, then that will be icing on their cake.” Zanders said. “They are a young group that have Olympic and college athletic scholarship potential in my eyes, if they continue training the way they did this summer. They represented the City of Natchitoches and the State of Louisiana very well.”