Written by: Southern Sprinters Blogger
Action Photos by Laurent Boudias https://kililouphotography.com
The 2024 VA Showcase, held in Virginia Beach on January 14, 2024, showcased exceptional talent and remarkable achievements. Southern Sprinters athletes competed fiercely, resulting in a total of 17 gold medals, 5 silver medals, and 7 bronze medals.
Despite the nerves of many athletes finding themselves in a different age category, Southern Sprinters Elite displayed unwavering determination. The results were nothing short of remarkable, with nearly every athlete achieving a personal best for the season across multiple events, and most winning their respective heats.
Southern Sprinters Debut
We also proudly welcomed three athletes who made their debut for indoor season—Kenae, Kalii, and Daniel—who faced off against athletes with two months of competition under their belts.
Kenae burst onto the scene, leaving an indelible mark by claiming victory in the 60m with an impressive time of 8.29. She continued her stellar performance by securing second place in the 200m, clocking in at 26.8.
At just 6 years old, Kalii courageously entered the 8 and under category, competing admirably to earn an 8th overall placement in both the 200m and the 60m events.
Meanwhile, 8-year-old Daniel boldly participated in four individual events. Demonstrating his versatility, he achieved a remarkable 5th overall position in his best event, the 800m. These newcomers not only embraced the challenge but also contributed significantly to the Southern Sprinters Elite track team.
The festivities kicked off early with the 200m, marking the first event of the day. Adding to the anticipation, many of our athletes competed in a different age category than the previous month, creating a unique challenge as they found themselves at the bottom of their age group. Despite the nerves, the Southern Sprinters Elite team showed remarkable resilience. The outcome was nothing short of extraordinary—almost every athlete participating in the 200m achieved a personal best for the season with the biggest improvement coming from Lilou (dropped 3.55 seconds), Cruz (dropped 3.11 seconds) and Mason (dropped 2.54 seconds) and the majority secured victories in their respective heats. A total of 6 athletes stood on the podium, with well-deserved medals.
The standout performance of the 200m came from the sensational Layla aka Lightning Lay, who not only earned a gold medal but set a new meet record for 11-12 girls with an impressive time of 26.30.
The next event was the 1500m where one athlete, Donovan, made a splash in the 9-10 boys flight. Pacing himself for 7.5 laps, he secured 2nd place, a new personal best, and a team record with his time of 5:44.35.
The relay events brought further triumphs for Southern Sprinters Elite. The 13-14 boys, despite missing one of our fastest 200m runners, set a new team record of 1:38.10 in the 4x200 relay, clinching a well-deserved gold medal. The 8 and under boys and 9-10 girls relay teams, making their debut, showcased their spirit and determination, leaving the track with gold and bronze medals.
Continuing through the day, the spotlight shifted to our six 800m runners, with standout performances that added to the day's excitement.
Notably, Laila executed a strategic race plan, reaping the rewards with a new personal best of 2:57 and just shy of securing a bronze medal but simultaneously setting a new team record.
Donovan, showcasing exceptional determination, not only secured a silver medal but also achieved a new personal best, marking a remarkable milestone in his track and field journey. Their performances in the 800m underscored the depth of talent and dedication within the Southern Sprinters Elite team.
The 60m dash prelims witnessed intense competition, with 11 Southern Sprinters achieving personal bests. The most improved athletes in the 60m were
Mason who dropped his time by 0.49 seconds and Nia who dropped her time by 0.22 seconds.
Additionally, Taylor stole the spotlight, earning first place, securing a new meet record for 9-10 girls, and earning a personal best time of 8.8. We had seven athletes qualify for the 60m finals and four of them earned medals (Kenae, Yesh, Zayden, and Taylor).
Despite the meet running behind schedule, our athletes faced the challenge of running the 400m and 60m almost back-to-back with remarkable grace and resilience. The 400m dash, a Southern Sprinters specialty, unfolded with unparalleled excitement. In the 400m, despite having to run the 400m and the 60m close together, several achieved personal bests. In particular, the most improved times were achieved by Madison who dropped 1.39 seconds in her time, Lightning Lay who dropped 1.29 seconds, and Shelby who dropped 1.01 seconds in their personal record. Five athletes clinched medals (Madison, Lightning Lay, Taylor, Yesh, and Cash), and Lightning Lay added another feather to her cap with a meet record, placing her as US#1 with a time of 1:01.58.
An impressive 24 out of 25 athletes in attendance achieved personal bests in their respective events, showcasing the dedication and hard work of the athletes, families, and coaches. The meet also saw the establishment of 8 new team records across various categories, countless personal bests, and plenty of smiles.
The 2024 VA Showcase became not just a competition but a stage where Southern Sprinters Elite athletes showcased their abilities, resilience, and team spirit. We are excited to do it all over again at the Track 757 Invitational on January 28, 2024.