28 local Track & Field athletes to compete in Junior Olympics

Twenty-eight track and field athletes in Central Louisiana will get to join an elite group by competing in the AAU Junior Olympics from July 30 to Aug. 6.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Watching the Olympics every few years on television inspires the next wave of athletes to train hard to hopefully one day be on that level.

For 28 track and field athletes in Central Louisiana, they will get to join an elite group by competing in the AAU Junior Olympics from July 30 to Aug. 6.

These athletes are all part of All-Cenla Elite, a local track club compiled of kids from across Cenla.

“Last year, I thought nine was a lot going into the Junior Olympics, and this year we have 28,” said Sedarrin Freeman, one of the coaches for All-Cenla Elite. “I’m excited about that because what that tells me is that the buzz around track and field is out there.”

The club began just two years ago when Coach Freeman, who also serves as the head track coach at Alexandria Senior High, wanted to create more opportunities to showcase local talent. In just its second year of existence, All-Cenla Elite has sent 37 athletes to the Junior Olympics and several came back home with All-American honors. To become All-American, athletes must place in the top 8 at Junior Olympics.

“It’s over 100 degrees, and these kids work extremely hard,” said David Williams, a coach for All-Cenla Elite. “They’re being productive and are doing something that’s going to benefit them for the rest of their lives. Now the world is going to see who they are right here in Central Louisiana.”

The local competitors range from five years old all the way to 19. For 13-year-old Noble Williams, he’s ranked as the number one ranked javelin thrower in the country for his age and is going for a national record in a sport he said he was not even trying to compete in. What is more special than his accomplishments is that he gets to do it with his dad as one of his coaches.

“First when I got into this, I actually wanted to do shot put, but I didn’t know what it was called, so I said I wanted to throw javelin,” said Williams. “Even I didn’t know I would be good at any sport, but whatever I pick up, I’m good at so I just thank my dad for pushing me.”

Williams is one of many local athletes with a chance to not only finish top 8 at the Junior Olympics but be forever known as an Olympic medalist.

“I’m not a boastful person, so I don’t really like to brag at all, but every once in a while, I’m like, ‘You know I’m going to Junior Olympics right’ and people congratulate us so it feels good,” said Janya Gray, who competes in the 4x100, 100m and 200m.

Their talents will be on display in Greensboro, North Carolina in two weeks for the AAU Junior Olympics.

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