Minga-Perry sisters tearing it up on the track

Madison, left center, and Mariah Minga-Perry pose with their parents.

Minga-Perry sisters tearing it up on the track
April 20
16:35 2022

By Timothy Ramsey

The Chronicle

Madison and Mariah Minga-Perry are track and field athletes for Walkertown High School. The two sisters are two of the best track and field athletes in the area and it all came from hard work and dedication.

The Minga-Perry sisters have been running track with Next Level Track Club since they were both around five years old. That foundation of running from such a young age has turned them into stellar athletes.

“My parents put me in it at first,” said Madison. “What kept me in it was the challenges and the development over the years,” said Madison about why she kept running track over the years. “Even though my parents made me start, I made the decision to keep going.”

Mariah says she started running because Madison was running and kept going because Madison continued to run.

Both sisters realized at a fairly young age that they were pretty good at the sport. They both have participated and received awards from high profile events such as Junior Olympics.

“We have always gone to JO’s (Junior Olympics) and stuff, but when I was 10, I was in Kids Sports Illustrated and I was like, I’m good at this,” Mariah said.

Their father, Keith Perry, says he noticed pretty early on that the girls would be good at track and field. Madison was a “late bloomer” and “it came more natural” for Mariah.

Madison runs a host of events on the track. She runs the 200-meters, 400-meters, 4×1 relay, 4×4 relay and participates in the long jump, which is her best event. She is one of the best long jumpers in the area.

“Running is always fun, but once you find a field event that also spikes your interest, it’s definitely a challenge and makes me a better athlete,” Madison said about the long jump.

Mariah also participates in a number of events on the track. Her events include the 100 meters, 200-meters, 4×1 relay, 4×2 relay and the 100-meter hurdles. The hurdles are Mariah’s favorite event and she is one of the top athletes in the event as a freshman.

“I got into it when I was 10 or 11 and I have thrived ever since then,” said Mariah. “It was an instant love. I have fallen plenty of times, but it was instant love.”

The pair really enjoy running on the same team together. The pair have always been in different age groups coming up the ranks of AAU track, but with Madison a senior and Mariah a freshman, this is the first year they actually get to run together.

Being the older sister, it was important for Madison to impart wisdom on her younger sister about the things she has learned on the track.

“Definitely not to give up because even if you don’t see the potential, I see it, my parents see it, the coaches see it and that goes for any freshman or underclassman. Just keep working because there’s someone that sees the potential that you have, you just have to believe in yourself,” Madison continued.  

Mariah has fully absorbed the lessons that her big sister has attempted to impart on her.

“She is a very hard worker, so she has pushed me to want to work hard just like her, honestly,” said Mariah.

The young ladies say even though they run a lot of events during every meet, they try and get their necessary rest during the week to ensure they have the energy to compete at a high level every week.

Madison just went through the recruiting process and has chosen to attend Tuskegee University to continue her education and her track career. After thinking about all of the schools who wanted her, she chose Tuskegee because they had everything she wanted in a school.

“Tuskegee kind of gave me the whole package,” she said. “Some schools told me if I wanted to play sports and have my major it would be too much and I would have to pick between the two, but Tuskegee said you can do all of this and they gave me the money for it.

“So many people tell you when you visit colleges and you talk to the coaches, there is like a feeling where you know. I definitely got that feeling when I first talked to the coaches and when I really stepped foot on the campus, it was just a different feeling from any other school. Also meeting the current athletes and even some random students was just a welcoming atmosphere and that is something you need to look for when you are looking into a college.”

For Mariah, she is taking in all of the experiences of her big sister and says she has a good feel for what she is looking for in a college.

The sisters have confidence in their abilities; however, they are not cocky when they perform. They understand the hard work they have put in over the years is paying off and to just enjoy competing at a high level with other athletes.

Madison and Mariah still carry with them the lessons they learned while running with Next Level Track Club.  

“Next Level has definitely taught me to trust the process because the runner that I was when I first started running with them, compared to where I am now, has shown a lot,” Madison said about Next Level. “That process comes and it takes time and you go through a lot of hard things and it makes you stronger as an athlete.”

Mariah added, “They taught me respect and how to be a role model because we have a lot of younger kids on the team. So, we have to do the drills right, listen to the coach, you know, the simple things.”

Mr. Perry says both Madison and Mariah excelled at their signature events fairly early on after they took them up.  

“Me and Coach Kiesha from Next Level got together and said, ‘Let’s try Madison in the long jump’ and it worked instantly,” Mr. Perry said about Madison. “When she was younger, she wasn’t the fastest and I thought it was discouraging but she was having fun. We put her in the long jump and she started winning.

“With Mariah, I think Mariah was ready to retire from track and field and the hurdles came about and it was instant love for it. She embraced it and that’s where the work ethic came in with her. She would go on YouTube and research videos and she embraced the workouts and they both just work at their craft.”

For both of his daughters, Mr. Perry feels they can go as far as they wish in the sport, including the professional ranks. His main goal when they first started was to just give them something to do and says it’s great for both to have the opportunity to obtain full scholarships to further their education.  

Madison’s and Mariah’s mother, Deidra Minga, says she is proud of what her daughters have been able to accomplish thus far in their lives. She says as long as the girls continue to excel in the classroom, she is happy.

“I am very proud, and you have to be a student before you can be the athlete. I always preach that, so super proud of academic accolades,” said Minga. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do, they understood the assignment.

“Athletically, super proud of when they were at the highest point and when they were at the point where they weren’t doing as good as they thought, but they persevered. They learned sportsmanship, they learned what track family was about, and they learned what patience was at a track meet, so it has taught them a lot.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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