The local youth track & field community continues showing its strength at the district, state and national level.
Oak Hill Middle School student Daloria Boone, 14, gave Baldwin County another national champion with her four-event performance during the 2014 USATF National Youth Indoor Track & Field Championships March 7-9 in Landover, Md.
Boone won Girls' 13-14 group national titles by setting records in the long jump (19-4 3/4), the 55-meter dash (7.29) and the 200-meter dash (25.93). She also finished second in the 400 competition with a 59.57 last weekend.
She improved on each of her February zone championship qualifying times to earn the medals.
The long jump effort smoked the nearest competitor by two feet. Boone's jump would have easily earned her a Baldwin high school state record.
“It just felt natural like a normal jump,” Boone said. “I still can't believe that I jumped 19 feet.”
Boone's long jump impressed a capacity crowd at Prince George's County Sports and Learning Complex.
“I actually was very nervous for all my running events,” Boone said. “The nerves weren't as bad in the long jump. I just went down and did it.”
The young record setter's older brother Dwayne, who’s currently on the track team at Mars Hill College, helped lay foundation for the recent achievement. His advice and encouragement helped smooth some tension.
“He's the reason I jumped as far as I did,” she said. “He helped me get my height and my mark.”
Boone has one up on her sibling after Nationals.
Competition took place in six two-year age divisions, with athletes generally falling between the ages of 7 and 18. Boone got to meet competitors from New York, California and the Maryland area.
The 14-year-old represented Baldwin County all the way.
Church supporters made donations to assist with travel expenses.
“They had faith in me that I'd go out and do well,” she said.
USA Track & Field's Youth Indoor Track & Field programs and indoor competitions provide young athletes a competitive opportunity to remain active and tune-up during the winter months.
The student-athletes feed into an already successful Junior Olympic program, which currently includes outdoor track and field and cross country.
Boone wants to focus on her education and qualify for the Olympics one day.
Experiences like these bring that goal legitimately into focus. A former female Olympian in the triple jump gave Boone a note of admiration.
“She actually showed interest. It made me feel pretty good,” Boone said.