Track club shines at regional AAU meet

Photo by Timothy Ramsey- Two young men from Lights Out Track Club work on their handoff for the 4x100 meter relay during practice last week.

Track club shines at regional AAU meet
July 27
04:00 2017

The Lights Out Track Club (LOTC) is widely regarded as one of the best in the city of Winston-Salem.  They routinely place high in many events whether it be sprints, distance or even field events.  Recently they competed in the regional Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) track meet in Charlotte and brought home second place overall as a team as well as a host of individual honors.

The meet, which took place on June 30 through July 2 at Olympic High School, was a tune up for the national meet to take place next month.  While there, the LOTC not only finished second overall but had six athletes win MVP for their age groups.

DJ Moyer, Jahvaree Ritzie, Mason Ellis, Justen Burnette, Cyerra Cruise and Laila Hall all took home MVP honors for LOTC. 

Hall, who competed in the shot put, discus and javelin for the 13-14 age group, says she just went into the meet knowing she was going to have to push herself to perform well.  She finished third in the shot put, first in the discus and second in the javelin.

“I was pretty proud of myself because that was my first time getting it,” she said.  “Just because I won it, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop practicing just as hard now.  I am going to get ready for Junior Olympics and go for it.”

Cruise also competed in the shot put, discus and javelin for the 17-18 age group.  She placed fourth in the javelin, first in the shot put and second in the discus.

“It was hot and hard to stay focused but when it came time to compete, I got in game mode and did my best,” she said.  “I thought it was crazy that I won MVP because I know I didn’t do as well as I liked but was happy I won.  I can push myself more and because I won this award I know I can be a better athlete.”

Burnette is a sprinter who ran the 100- and 200-meter dash at the regional meet in the 17-18 age group.  He finished first in both events even though he had lost to the top qualifier in the 100 at a previous meet.

“My first thought was just thank you because I have wanted to be MVP for a long time,” Burnette said.  “I have been working hard and I will just keep doing what I am doing now and hopefully continue to set more personal records for myself.”

For Ritzie, he finished first in the shot put, discus and high jump in the 13-14 age group.  He says he wanted to set new personal records for himself at the meet but came up short.  He says even though he did not fulfill his desire he was happy with the result.  Ellis also won MVP at the regional meet last year so he said he wasn’t shocked to win it again because he has high expectations for himself.

Ellis said he felt pretty good going into the meet.  He finished first in the shot put and discus while also taking home third in the javelin.

“I was surprised because many times the field events are overlooked,” said Ellis.  “At this meet I wasn’t expecting anything but it means a lot because we usually get overlooked, but not this time.”

Moyer ran the 100- and 200-meter dash in the 15-16 age group.  He finished first in both events.  He says he was proud of himself because of the level of competition that was at the meet.

“After winning I just thought to myself that all the hard work I put in paid off in the end,” he said.  “I know I can run faster in both events and hopefully I can continue to get faster.”

LOTC head coach DeCarlos West said he wasn’t surprised by the number of athletes that came away with MVP honors.  He says with all the hard work they put in they were deserving of their honors.  He credits their success as a club to the dedication of the coaches and the willingness of the athletes to listen.

“The training, kids pushing each other and the coaches doing what they need to do makes us all come together as a team,” West said.  “You have to give all the credit to the kids because they are out there putting in all the hard work.  They are never satisfied and they all hate to lose.  They are always looking to be Number One, and that’s why they are so good.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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