Local student athletes earning medals in state, national track & field

Local student athletes Na’zir Fisher (left) and Janel Carter (right) have been putting on a show on the AAU track circuit.

Local student athletes  earning medals in state, national track & field
August 25
14:17 2021

People around the world tuned in last month for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games held in late July and early August. But while the focus for many was on the Olympics, local student athletes Janel Carter and Na’zir Fisher were putting on a show of their own on the AAU track circuit. 

Carter, 11, has been running track since she was four years old and is an 11-time medalist at the AAU Track & Field Nationals, 11-time All-American, and she’s made four trips to the Jr. Olympics. 

In just his first year running track, Fisher, 10, who is Carter’s cousin, ranked 13th in the nation in the 100 meter dash and 14th in the 200 meter dash. He is also first in the state in the long jump. 

Carter’s speed was discovered when she was running around having a good time at her brother’s track practice. One of the coaches noticed how fast she was and the rest is history; she’s been running competitively ever since. 

Carter’s mother, Shantae Graham, said when Janel steps on the track, she turns into a different person. “She is super competitive and she kind of goes into what I call the ‘dog mentality’ when she hits the track,” Graham laughed. 

“She’s real quiet and reserved as a person but she hits the track, something just turns on. But the main thing for me is that she’s enjoying it.” 

Carter, who is a 6th grader at Hanes Magnet School, said what she enjoys most about track & field is that although there are a lot of individual events, it’s still a team sport. 

“What I enjoy most about track is that it’s not always about one person, it’s a team sport; the support of the fans, friends, and teammates,” Carter said. 

Fisher’s introduction to the track started as just a way to get faster for football season. Nazir’s grandmother, MiMi Fisher, who ran hurdles in high school and held the record for the 300 meter hurdles at Reynolds High School until it was recently broken, is who persuaded Na’zir to run track. 

She said when Na’zir decided not to play spring football this year, they decided to start running track to prepare for the fall football season. “I’m ecstatic,” said Fisher when discussing her grandson’s success on the track. “I just can’t believe that he has done so well, being that it’s his first year with no real structured training.” 

Na’zir said at first he had his doubts about running track, but once he got out there he really started to enjoy it, especially when he started winning. 

“I wasn’t sure about running at first, but now I really like it,” Fisher continued. “But I know to get better it’s going to take a lot of hard work.”

Wendell Holland, Fisher’s uncle, said he believes his nephew has the potential to do great things on the track. 

“I know he probably thinks I push him too hard, but that’s only because I see the potential he has,” Holland said. “Around here he’s a step or two faster than all the kids his age, so I just try to keep pushing him so he can compete on the national stage.” 

Fisher, who attends Cook Literacy Model School, has been putting that speed to work on the football field. During a recent scrimmage he only had three carries, but all three resulted in touchdowns. 

Although the track season has come to an end, Carter is always working to perfect her craft. She said her goal is to be a part of Team USA at the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. 

“I’ve been working on knee lifts, arm formations, and being able to switch gears, ” Carter said. “Five years from now I definitely see myself preparing for the Olympics … you only have to be 15 to qualify, so that’s something I’m working for.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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