Youth Xpress Track Club getting ready for National Junior Olympics in Michigan

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - On most weekdays during the summer you can see youngsters training at the Gulfport High School track, in Pass Christian, Poplarville and in Hattiesburg.

The Youth Xpress Track Club kicked off its first year of competition and club members have done extremely on the field of competition, consisting of youngsters 6 to 18-years-old.

Keturah Maurice said,"We've had 32 kids sign up and had 17 qualify for the Junior Olympics and this is a lot of their first time to run track and field."

Keturah Maurice helped organize the South Mississippi track club with a number of goals in mind.

"We want to impact these kids not only on the track but off the track and a lot of the kids have build their self confidence, especially qualifying for the Junior Olympics."

She added, "Their independence has grown and there's been so much development within them as far as finishing what they started."

Track coach Philip Travis says the Youth Xpress Track Club is hopeful that a national AAU track and field meet can be held here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the near future.

Travis said, "We have USATF and AAU contacting us because they have heard a lot about us on this end and they would like us to grow the Gulf Coast area."

16-year-old Zaria Tillman, will be a junior at Hattiesburg High School. She's coming off a super high school track season where she established numerous records.

She ran the 300 meter hurdles in 42.64 seconds, the fastest-time ever for a girl in the state of Mississippi.

"I won state in the 200 & 300 meter hurdle, broke the state record and I am Gatorade Athlete of the Year in Mississippi Track and Field for the girls," Tillman stated.

"I would like to go to LSU and pursue a track career there and hopefully move on to the Olympics or go pro."

10-year-old Aidan Hines of Long Beach is giving his all in practice. Under hot conditions, with the sun beating down on the rubber track, Aidan completes his training and doesn't take a breather. He said he'll be competing in 3 events at the Junior Olympics in Michigan, "I will do the high jump and the 100 and 200 meters."

Aidan's best time in the 100 meters is just over 16 seconds and his best time in the 200 is 32.16 seconds.

On Friday you'll meet a young lady who is legally blind and is participating with the Youth Xpress Track Club

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