Dorian Friend, 8 and Dania Guidry, 10 years old of the Northside Striders of Aldine are going into the AAU Junior Olympics next week with high expectations. The Striders qualified 10 athletes for the Junior Olympics.

Friend’s specialties are 100, 200 and 400 meter runs. According to Coach Tony Jones, Friend’s best time in the 100 was 14:72.

“He definitely has speed, good form, good technique…just about all the things you need to be successful in track,” said Jones.

Jones was asked if speed was something you can teach or is it an inborn quality?

“I think it is a little bit of both, probably more 65 percent coaching and 35 percent natural talent. You do have to learn how to run correctly, learn proper technique and proper form.”

Guidry was the 2011 AAU Junior Olympic champion in the 400, 800, and 1500 meters.

“She has the drive…one of those types of runners who really puts out that individual effort,” said Jones. “Right now she just has it….endurance, keeping the same pace at the same rate all the way through the race, the same in practice,” referring to the 1500.

“”She can run a first lap at about a 1:08 – 1:10, which is pretty fast quarter time. She can keep that pace up for the next three and a half laps. “Whereas for other kids, it’s hard for them keep up the pace the entire time.”

Her best time in the 1500 in 2011 was 5:16.31. “This year her best times have been around 5:30, but she really hasn’t anyone to push her.”

Track and field events take place at Turner Stadium in Humble, starting Monday, July 29 and continuing through Aug.