Mississippi Heat remain focused in Junior Olympics

Published 10:01 am Friday, July 31, 2015

It was another great day for Leon Miles and the Mississippi Heat at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics. Miles set a personal record in the 110m hurdles at 14.68 seconds and advanced to the semifinals.

“I was glad I made it to the semifinals. I was confident that I can make it out of the semifinals,” Miles said.

Although his time is a personal best, he placed 14 and knows he has room to improve.

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“It feels good but it’s not on everyone’s level,” Miles said.

Miles is confident he will do well in the rest of his events.With the success of Miles and others, comes the hardship among his teammates.

Diandrenique Gains ran a 12.57 100m dash but missed the cut for the event. However, Gains will still compete later in the week. Adria Burrell, Taylor Gray and the Heat’s 4x100m relay team didn’t advance as well.

This is the second day Keiyana Gaskin missed the cut and is taking it hard, but coach Clarence Maxey said Gaskin is bouncing back.

“She took it in strides today, a lot better than I expected. She just figured she had to work hard next season and come back next year,” Maxey said.

Gaskin already made plans to attend next year, her final year of competition. The Mississippi Heat have two athletes competing Friday and three on Saturday.

Miles will run the men’s 110m hurdles and Diandrenique Gains runs in girl’s 100m dash Friday. Saturday, Ramsey Fultz will compete in the boys 15-16 high jump; Raven Thompson in the girls 15-16 high jump; and Miles in the men’s 400m finals.

If Miles advances, he would’ve ran every day of the tournament.

Maxey has to pick the spirits up of teammates who might be bummed or disappointed.

“I just let them know you’re competing against the best of the best. If you gave it 100 percent that’s all that matters. It’s basically the end of a long season,” Maxey said. “If you get here that means you ran pretty fast and there’s nothing to hang you head on.”

Maxey is proud of each and every one of his competitors. He said they competed hard, nobody gave up and they did their best.

If runners don’t advance, then they stay and support the ones who are still competing.

They try to enjoy the rest of their week, relax and sit back.