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Flying Eagles prepare for AAU championships
by Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
July 17, 2013 01:25 PM | 1441 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Flying Eagles' sprinter Caden Jackson
Flying Eagles' sprinter Caden Jackson
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The Mark Trail Flying Eagles Track Team will compete in the AAU Junior Olympics in Detroit from July 27 to August 3 after winning the team titles at the AAU Georgia District and Area 8 A qualifier meets. The Eagles scored more than 500 team points in each meet and will be represented by 62 athletes in the Junior Olympics.

“We were excited to win both competitions,” said head coach Stephon Rivas. “The kids are looking forward to nationals.”

The Mark Trail Athletic Association (MTAA) was created 17 years ago by Rivas to give economically-disadvantaged youth an opportunity to compete in running events on a local, state, regional and national level. The MTAA, based in Decatur, has now grown into a non-profit organization that serves over 150 children each year with an age range of 8 to 17.

“We introduce new events to the kids and that gives them the experience of developing a goal and trying to beat it,” said Rivas.

Six female athletes, Serena Tate (100-meter dash), Brooke Fung Chung (1,500-meter run), Farrah Johnson (1,500-meter race walk), Andrea Dendy (800-meter run), Sarah Matthews (triple jump) and Bria Matthews (long jump) won their respective competitions during the qualifier meets.

Rivas, who participated in AAU events during competitions in his youth, knows the value that the program has on the athletes in every aspect of their lives. “They get the opportunity to exercise, which prevents childhood obesity, and stay active during the summertime.” Said Rivas.

“The most important thing the athletes learn is discipline because they have clearly defined goal of winning their event know what they have to do to achieve it.”

The quartet of Italo Jenkins, Xavier Gaither, Jonathon Crayton and Arlen Epps won the age 8 & under category in qualifying. Nolan Johnson, Andrew Douglas, Jaylen Outler, Justin Jackson, Terez Davis-Giles and Santana Walton were part were parts of 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams that claimed first place among the 10 and 11 year old boys. Finally, Dylan Belisile, Alonzo White, Amir Taylor and Kyree Rice won the 4x800 meter relay in the 11 and 12 year old division along with William Taylor for the turbo javelin.
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