The Black Lightning Track Club competed in the USATF National Junior Olympics at Sacramento State University and the AAU Junior Olympics at North Carolina A&T University (Courtesy photo)

The Black Lightning Track Club has been excelling on the biggest stages of track and field. This past summer, runners from the club took top spots in sprints and relays during the Junior Olympics.

During the AAU National Junior Olympics, the 4x400m relay teams for the 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14 groups won gold.

“They went in, they totally obliterated the time they had in the prelims,” said Black Lighting founder and coach Demetrius Wilson. “It really showed they were the elite athletes in the 4x400m.”

Black Lightning also earned several team and individual medals during the USATF SoCal Association Junior Olympics. The 11-12 and the 13-14 squads paced their opponents in the 4x100m and the 4x400m relays.

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In the 4x100m, the 11-12 squad finished in 51.67 seconds while the 13-14 squad recorded a 47.20-second performance. For the 4×400 relay, the 11-12 team ran a 4:19.04 while the 13-14 team had a 3:55.92 time.

DeAuna Lewis ran the second leg of the 4x400m and the anchor of the 4x100m for the 13-14 squad. She noted how being the second leg of the 4x400m “takes a lot of concentration” as runners transition into running in the same lane.

“I don’t want to fight to have to cut into lane one,” Lewis said. “If that means letting someone in front of me in order to cut, I just want to avoid injury.

Marley Scoggins runs has the starting leg for the 4x100m and the third of the 4x400m for the 13-14 squad. She mentioned how the relay squad has good chemistry and trusts each other.

“To prepare myself, I like to talk to my teammates and we pray before all of our races,” Scoggins said. “I feel like praying with each other helps bring a lot more confidence with one another.”

Scoggins also came in third for the 13-14 200m event at the USATF Junior Olympics.

Justine Wilson runs the second leg in the 13-14 4x100m and anchor for the 4x400m. Running the second leg is her favorite.

“I like running on the straight and I like getting the baton and handing it off,” Justine said. “We wanted to like go out this year, jump a lot of time and win. I didn’t know we had it in us to do both and I’m just really happy that we did.”

Jasmine Wilson won gold in the 9-10 100m, 200m, and 400m. Experience from previous meets taught her the importance of not giving up.

“Try your best and believe in yourself,” Jasmine said. “Even if you are not in the best position to win, you can still work your way up.”

The AAU Junior Olympics took place at North Carolina A&T University, allowing they young athletes exposure to an HBCU while competing.,

“I actually did see a little bit of it,” said Alaya Graves-Hogains, who is on both 13-14 relay squads. “It was actually nice.”

Wilson mentioned that the athlete’s strong work ethic in belief in their system was the key to their success.

“I think it was just their hard work and they kind of had a game plan in terms of what they want to do,” Wilson said. “They were prepared for what they were up against.”