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Back on track: Two College Station Cougars compete at AAU Junior Olympics today in Florida

Back on track: Two College Station Cougars compete at AAU Junior Olympics today in Florida

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CS girls track

After months away from competing, two runners on the College Station track and field girls team will lace up their cleats and take their marks on Wednesday to participate in the Amateur Athletic Union’s Junior Olympics in Satellite Beach, Florida.

The Cougars’ sophomore Elnita Green and freshman Tanasha Thompson trained with the College Station Sprinters this summer and will represent them in the meet that runs through Saturday. Due to COVID-19, the Junior Olympics had an open registration, but each runner will be put in heats according to their previous times in each event. Athletes, coaches and spectators must wear masks when they’re not competing and families are asked to exit the stands once their athletes’ race is completed.

Head girls track and field coach, Demarcus Jones said after working with both Green and Thompson this summer through strength and conditioning and skill-specific workouts, it’s evident they’re hungry to compete. Jones also works alongside Sprinters’ head coach Keith Herring during the school year to help their runners train throughout the season. But due to COVID-19, both seasons were canceled and Jones and Herring didn’t get to work with Green or Thompson until practices were allowed in June by the University Interscholastic League.

“I have at least five girl sprinters that also ran for the College Station Sprinters so me and [coach Herring] have been working together to take care of these girls,” Jones said. “We’re about to put College Station on the map for girls track and field. We have girls that can compete in pretty much every race.

“Elnita and Tanasha have been in the weight room working out since we got the go-ahead for strength and conditioning and they’ve been focused. It’s been on a totally different level.”

Although Green’s freshman season didn’t end with a trip to state like she wanted, it did come with record-setting performances. Green broke College Station’s 100- and 200-meter records with times of 12.56 and 24.63 at the Cypress Falls Golden Eagle Invitational and the Temple Relays, respectively. Jones only had one year with Green, but quickly noticed her hard work was paying off. Jones said he expects Green to run the same, if not faster, this week in the 100 and 200 after seeing her push hard in practices and the weight room.

“She was running the fastest she had ever ran when we stopped at Spring Break,” Jones said.

Green admits she’s slightly nervous going into her first track meet in almost five months, but she’s excited to see her training pay off. More importantly, she’s excited to beat her previous records.

“I was informed that I had broken [the records] after I ran and I felt really good about it because I didn’t expect myself to beat them,” Green said. “I was just surprised with myself. ...Since there is a lot more competition [at the junior olympics] I expect myself to [personal record] and make it to the finals. That’s really my goal.”

Thompson is an incoming freshman at College Station and will join Green in the 100 and 200 in the 15-16-year-old bracket. Green and Thompson will also run with teammates Katelyn Lockett and Tanisha Gooden in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Thompson hasn’t competed at the high school level yet, but Jones said it’ll be a good experience for her before the 2020-21 season.

“Her season got cut really short, I think [Wellborn Middle School] only had one meet,” Jones said. “It’ll be a big stage for her as well and she’s never had to run in UIL competition, but she’s a Texas Amateur Athletic Federation [4x100 meter relay] champion so she should be able to compete well and have a great start to her high school career.”

NOTES — Lockett will also compete in the 100 and 200, and Gooden will run in the 200 for the College Station Sprinters. In the 17-19 age bracket, the Sprinters will be represented by Dynasty McClennon, Anivea Gilbert and Kayla Meyers in the 100 and 200, and Taejha Badal will compete in the 100, 200 and 400 races. McClennon, Gilbert, Meyers and Badal will all race in the 4x100 relay. For the boys, Dakoyta Johnson will run in the 15-16 age bracket in the 100 and 200. Due to COVID-19, the 2,000 steeplechase, triple jump, turbo javelin, javelin, high jump, pole vault, triathlon, pentathlon, heptathlon and decathlon were taken out.

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