By Kevin Eickman
There are many different ways to spend summer vacation when you are a young student athlete; among them is honing your craft and competing at a high level. That is indeed the case for Jada and Aiyan as they will head to Greensboro, NC to compete in the 2019 Junior Olympics. The event, which features top athletes from all around the country, is an adventure the Newsome sisters are eagerly anticipating.
The Newsome sisters, who are part of the Delaware Elite Track Club, are looking forward to this summer’s adventure. Aiyen who is in second grade is a member of the 4×100 meter relay team, which is seeded 13th out of 36 teams in the event. Aiyan really likes the team aspect of the relay. “I really that we work together and it’s really a lot of fun,” Aiyan said. “You can keep on running and it always feels great to run. Plus it keeps you real healthy at the same time.”
It is not just the Junior Olympics that draws Aiyan to the sport, it is the traveling to different meets and getting to meet new people. “It’s a lot of fun to meet other girls and get to know them. We always have a real good time,” she said. While running is fun, Aiyan also enjoys math and doing hair. “My mom-mom does other people’s hair. I started watching her and the more I watched her the more I wanted to do it.”
Jada who will be entering the seventh grade at Milford Central Academy this year will be competing in the 100 meter dash, 4×100 and the long jump in the 12 and under group. This will be Jada’s third trip to the Junior Olympics as she is really looking forward to it. “You get a little nervous but it’s also a lot of fun at the same time,” she said. “You get to know people and you run, I love to run.”
Speaking with their mother Roteasha about the commitment on her end, she explained that while it is not easy, it is quite rewarding. “It’s a lot of hard work but I make sure my girls get to where they need to be,” she said. It’s not just track and field for the girls however, school is a big part of it. “They know that school comes first, they need to keep their grades up if they want to compete. School is very important in our family.” For Roteasha the long drives and early morning wake up calls are all worth it to see her girls happy. “When I sit there and watch them running and having such a great time it makes it all worth it.”
It is not just competing that drives the sisters, it is the fact that they will get to see all the other sports that are offered at the Junior Olympics. The girls are looking forward to seeing many of the events there. While Jada is looking forward to watching gymnastics, Aiyan will be checking out swimming.
The path to the Junior Olympics is not an easy one. You must first finish in the top 16 at a district qualifier to earn the right to compete in the regional qualifier. The regional qualifier is even more challenging as only the top six in each event get to qualify for the Junior Olympics.
Speaking with coach Kwaku Attoh of the Delaware Elite Track Club, he believes it’s the girls’ commitment that sets them up for success. “They aren’t afraid of the hard work and commitment it takes,” he said. “They are born competitors and it shows when they are on the track.” The club, which has locations all over Delaware, is a training ground for athletes of all abilities and will be sending over 20 athletes to the Junior Olympics. The non-profit club, which started over 10 years ago in Newark, continues to grow.
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