The “Magnificent Nine” members of the Southeast Elite Rockets track team brought home nine medals from the Junior Olympics track meet in Knoxville, Tenn.
“These nine kids competed against 13,500 other athletes and brought home medals,” team representative Cenita Chapman said. “It was only Marsalis Jackson’s third meet ever and he won the first place in the high jump and is now the national champion.”
In addition to getting a medal in the high jump Jackson also medaled in the long jump during the July 29-Aug. 4 competition.
Anthony Holsendolph medaled in the high jump. Asyria Daniels received two medals in the long jump and pentathlon. And Quintunya Chapman won three medals for the long jump, the 400-meter and the hurdles. Shaquille Russell earned a medal for the discus
“This was Quintunya’s first time running in the hurdles so for her to win a medal was quite an achievement,” Chapman said.
Quintunya Chapman is an all around athlete and wasted no time getting involved with other sports.
“We thought she would take a break and get some rest, but instead she joined the volleyball team,” Chapman said. “She also plans to run track for Bradwell and play basketball for coach Faye Baker.”
The group stayed the entire week of competition and Chapman said the kids were excited to see returning competitors from last year, meeting new friends and performing in front of collegiate scouts.
“A couple of our kids were approached by scouts,” Chapman said. “Larry Henry was approached by a representative from West Point.”
Chapman said although not all the members of the team brought home medals, they were all champions in their accomplishment to make it to the Olympics.
This was the only local team representing Hinesville at the track meet. The nine competitors made it to the Olympics by beating out 600 other athletes at regional qualifiers earlier this year in South Carolina. They brought home 15 medals from the regional and began preparing for the junior Olympics.
“We want to thank Wal-Mart, representatives from the Hourglass Lodge 113 PHA, F&M, The X.L. Neal Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons (PHA), the Omar Temple of Shrine 21 from Ludowici, Midway, Hinesville and Darien and all the churches and organizations that donated to make this trip to the junior Olympics possible for these kid,” Chapman said.
The team sets its sights on next year and hopes to make it to the nationals in Detroit at East Michigan University. They plan to begin practice and workouts in April, but the coaches and staff will start fundraising now to assure they can support a trip to Michigan for the week.
For information or to make a donation call Tosha Bell at 492-5106 or 876-5685.