Friday, July 31, 2009

SPORTS >> Local athletes head to Junior Olympics

Leader sports editor

Thirteen track hopefuls from the local area are representing Team Elite at the AAU Junior Olympic national championships, which began Saturday and runs through Aug. 8 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

The athletes qualified for nationals at the regional qualifying meet at Joplin last month.

Team Elite is coached by Searcy’s Wilford Jones, whose daughter, Khaila Jones will be trying for her second consecutive national AAU title in the triple jump. Jones, sister of former Searcy track sensation and current Arkansas Razorback Whitney Jones, won the triple jump at the Junior Olympics last August in the midget division.

She will compete in the sub-youth division this year and comes in with the third-best qualifying mark at 33 feet, three inches.

Darrielle McQueen of Talahassee, Fla., qualified with a leap of 35-00.25.

Jones will also vie in the long jump.

Jacksonville’s Daijah Harris is set to compete in the sub-bantam division of the 200 meters on Tuesday and in the long jump on Thursday.

Nikeya Mosby of Jacksonville and Taylor Person took part in the 1,500 midget walk on Sunday. Person, of North Little Rock, finished ninth with a time of 10 minutes, 29.67 seconds. Mosby was right behind at 10th with a time of 10:35.58.

Jacksonville’s Nikia Williams will race in the sub midget 100 meters. Williams will join Amber Lockhart and Mosby in Friday’s midget 4 x 100 semifinal relay.

Cetra Dale will race in the 100 preliminaries and will compete in the sub-bantam long jump on Thursday. Dale brings an 11th-best qualifying mark of 11-10.50.

Kiara Vaughn qualified for the 100 Mondat and 200 on Tuesday in the bantam division.

Deja Hale will battle in the sub-youth 200 on Tuesday, while Ebony Cox will take part in the 4 x 100 intermediate relay semifinals on Friday.