Hi, my name is Aria, and I’m an artist, avid reader, dog lover, and an elite track athlete. I started track in 6th grade, when I was 12. I’m now 14. However, I started running, I mean SPRINTING, when I was much younger. For several years, I was a key member of a boys flag-football team. Everyone quickly realized I was the fastest person on the field. When the coach would call a play where I got the ball, the boys called the play “Lambo” (short for Lamborghini). They were all very supportive of a girl in a boys sport.
In 6th grade, I participated in my first track meets for Wallace County Middle School. I quickly realized sprinting and long jumping were very easy for me . . . or at least I realized I was good at those events. After easily winning all my middle school races against competition one to two years older than me, I decided to try “summer track”. I entered my first AAU meet as a very scared but determined 12 year old. Against good competition, I ran so fast that I would have set high school records at my school, if I was old enough. I then proceeded to qualify for the national AAU Junior Olympic Games, where I finished top 10 in the nation in the 100m and 200m. Despite only running track for a few months, I was able to hold my own against girls that had been doing this for years.
For my 7th grade year of track, I decided to try some indoor track meets. Towards the end of my basketball season, I entered my first indoor meet. With no “track” training, I ran a 14-and-under nation-leading 7.79s in the 60m dash. A couple meets later, I ran a 7.63s, which is now considered one of the fastest 14-and-under 60m dashes ever. I also ran the 200m dash indoors, as well as long jumping to a distance of 17’6”, which led 18-and-under in Kansas. I did so well in my indoor events, I was able to qualify for the New Balance Indoor Nationals and the Adidas Indoor Nationals. I traveled with my family to the east coast for those events, where I was able to place very highly . . . even though the competition was all in high school.
My outdoor season as a 7th grader consisted of college meets, elite high school meets, and elite meets for my own age group. I ran at meets such as the Stanford Invitational and Nike Outdoor Nationals. In fact, I was the 100m and 200m champion in the Emerging Elite division at the Nike Outdoor Nationals. My times of 11.79s in the 100m and 24.40s in the 200m are now top 10 marks in Kansas for anyone 18-and-under. Yes . . . I did all that as a 13 year old.
I love running and I love competing, but most of all, I love learning how to be good at something. Sprinting is both a talent and a skill. Hard work and determination are still critical when you face talent equal to or better than you are.