Local club performs well at AAU event

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &045; A month after taking home 22 medals at the Amateur Athletic Union Championships in Orlando, Fla., the Raising Accountable Decisive Leaders track club took their show on the road to Norfolk, Va., where they garnered six medals against the toughest competition in the nation at the AAU Junior Olympics.

&8220;I feel like we did a good job because we were up against a higher level of competition than we faced at the club championships,&8221; coach Eddie Ray Jackson said. &8220;We achieved our goal, which was to compete, and finished near the top in several events.&8221;

Highlighting the groups&8217; achievements were the performances of Ramonte Jackson and the boys&8217; 4×400 relay team of Dunte Jones, Robert Curry, Torun Heart and Deon Howard. Jackson nearly took home the gold, outdistancing all competitors on all but one jump. Four times Jackson recorded jumps of over 13 feet, but on one attempt Jackson was outdistanced by three-fourths of an inch by Gavin Robertson of Kent, Wash.

Email newsletter signup

&8220;He wasn&8217;t bummed about it at all,&8221; Eddie Ray Jackson said. &8220;He knew he did his best and posting four jumps over 13 feet was better than anyone else. The other guy just did better than he did on one jump.&8221;

Jackson was one of several athletes from the RADL track club to compete in multiple events. In the boys&8217; 100 meters, Jackson finished 15th overall with a time of 14.8 seconds.

&8220;That surprised me and tells you how good the competition we were up against was,&8221; Jackson said. &8220;Heading into this, I felt like if he could run a 14.8, than he could medal.&8221;

The 4×400 relay team of Jones, Curry, Heart and Howard also opened eyes with their scorching time of 3:30.32 which garnered the bronze medal, a mere one-hundreth of a second behind the second place finishers.

&8220;That was a real photo finish,&8221; Jackson said. &8220;To finish that high at the national stage &8212; you couldn&8217;t have asked for a better performance from those guys.&8221;

Heart also competed in multiple events, finishing second in the individual 400 meters youth division.

Jasmine Belton also recorded a top-ten finish placing ninth in the triple jump.

Others who competed and qualified for the finals for the RADL track club were Faith Sherman of Woodville, who finished 22nd in the 3000meters; Queonna Williams, who finished 43rd in the 400 meters; Myreon Sartin, who finished 11th in the high jump.

The event marked the end of the of the track and field season for the club. Eddie Ray Jackson would like to thank all the sponsors who made their trips possible this year.

&8220;Getting to travel and compete is something that would not have been possible had it not been for all of the help we got from the sponsors,&8221; Jackson said. &8220;From myself and the kids, we would like to say &8216;Thank you&8217;, and the money you donated did not go unappreciated.&8221;