TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Topeka track team sent 26 athletes to the Junior Olympics in Houston, Texas and brought back medals in eight events.
The team, called the United Stars, participated in a regional meet in Arkansas before many of them qualified for the national meet in Texas.
Head Coach Aaron Gardiner said the trip wouldn’t have been possible without the community support the team received.
“We had an outpouring of support from people in the community. It helped us tremendously. We were able to get these kids down there and have a unique experience which is what we ultimately wanted to do,” Gardiner said.
The eight medals the team brought back are more than they’ve ever achieved before. In fact, the club’s total medal count prior to this year was four.
CJ Brown was part of the 14-year-old boy’s 4th place 4×100 meter relay team. Alana Mitchell finished second in the 12-year-old girl’s long jump. Ten-year-old Tanesia Johnson brought home two medals with a second place finish in the 100-meter dash and a fourth place finish in the long jump. Ane Gardiner brought home a copper medal (fourth place) in the 9-year-old girl’s long jump.
It was Camryn Brown that brought home the most hardware with three medals. Brown, 9, posted second-place finishes in the 400-meter dash and long jump, while finishing fourth in the 200-meter dash.
“Everybody went down there and did their very best. Everybody went down there and got their personal best,” Gardiner said.
He listed Mammoth Sports Construction, Petro Deli, Berkshire Hathaway and more as supporters of the team.