ST. GEORGE (KSNT) – Aria Pearce is just like any other 13-year-old; she enjoys movies, reading and Starbucks. However, when the track spikes come on, she becomes the fastest eighth grader in the country.

“Right now she’s the fastest in the nation,” Aria’s father Nathan Pearce said. “At the end of the day, unless somebody has a faster time in the junior Olympics, she’ll probably end the year that way.”

The Pearce family left for the Junior Olympics in North Carolina Sunday, where Aria will be competing in the 100-meter, 200-meter and long jump.

“Nationals, this year, in North Carolina, is just going to be a bit different since I’ll actually be racing people my own age,” Aria Pearce said.

Aria was dominating races her own age, so she had to get creative to find good competition. She competed at a meet at Stanford this season against college students – and beat most of them.

“She really enjoyed seeing those females that took track serious and were good at it and wanted to be good,” Nathan Pearce said.

Aria competed at a meet at Tabor College against KCAC schools and took first in the 100-meter. She also went against K-State, Kansas and Nebraska athletes at a meet in Manhattan, winning the 200-meter and placing second in the 100-meter.

The Pearce family comes from Sharon Springs, Kansas, out west near the Colorado border. At her old school, Wallace County, the only track in the area was dirt, unlike the now-common synthetic tracks everywhere else.

“To get to a real track, back where we were from, one of the better ones was Goodland, and that’s like an hour and a half, maybe even two hours,” Aria Pearce said.

Now in St. George, where Aria will attend Rock Creek, she has access to real outdoor and indoor tracks to help Aria reach her biggest goal.

“I really want to go to the Olympics,” Aria Pearce said.