Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 08/15/07
BY JOHN BUSH
Ajee Wilson of Neptune topped even herself at this year's AAU National Junior Olympics.
Last year, Wilson won the 800-, 1,500 and 3,000-meter runs at the AAU Junior Olympics in Norfolk, Va. She pulled off the same feat at this year's AAU Junior Olympics at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, setting a national record in the 3,000 as an added bonus.
Running in the Sub-Youth (13-years-old) division, Wilson won the 800 in 2:14.94, the 1,500 in 4:41.08 and the 3,000 in 10:13.41. Her 3,000 time shattered the national Sub-Youth record of 10:42.77.
Wilson, who ran in the Midget (12-years-old) division last year, also came close to setting national Sub-Youth records in the other two races. Her 800 time was just .51 of a second off the record, and her 1,500 time was 1.49 seconds off the mark.
Ajee was just fractions off the 800 and 1,500 records, and she annihilated the 3,000 by almost 30 seconds, said Keith Davis, Wilson's coach. I'm really impressed. The great thing about Ajee is that she loves to run. Running is truly her passion.
The only close race for Wilson came in the 3,000, edging Sara Sargent of Yardley, Pa., Sargent took second in 10:14.45.
Not only did Wilson obliterate the 3,000 record. Her time was better than the winning times in the three older age divisions: Youth (14), Intermediate (15-16) and Young Women (17-18).
When it came down to the 3,000, Ajee really peaked at the right time, Davis said. She was unbelievable. We usually try to give her a race strategy: Do you want to run to win or do you want to run to set a record? She was going for the record. Her pace was a second faster on each of her laps. She was very relaxed.
In the 1,500, Wilson beat the second-place finisher by over 10 seconds in narrowly missing the record.
She ran excellent races in the 800 and the 1,500, Davis said. It's a matter of when you kick for both races. She had a great pace but she put her kick on a little bit too late.
Wilson, who will enter the eighth grade at Neptune Intermediate School, qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics by sweeping all three races at the Region 1 AAU Track and Field Championships in New Brunswick. She won the 800 in a Region 1-record 2:20.02, took the 1,500 in 4:53.32 and won the 3,000 in 11:03.62.
Wilson will get ready for the cross country season at Neptune. As a seventh-grade student, she won the Shore Conference of Middle Schools All-Star cross country meet and captured the 800 and 1,500 at the Shore Intermediate School All-Star Track and Field meet at Howell High School.