Samantha Clemens / The Spectrum
ST. GEORGE - Two young girls from St. George did not qualify for the Hershey Track & Field meet this year. However, that hurdle was not enough to knock them down.
Ten-year-olds Myley Alexander and Lily Poulton of St. George fell short of earning a trip to the famed Pennsylvania event, but continued working hard and are now heading to the USA Track and Field National Finals.
The meet begins today and runs through Sunday in Wichita, Kan.
I was kind of sad, then I heard about the USA Nationals, and I decided I wanted to do it, Alexander said.
Alexander came in contact with Justin Redfearn's track club, Quick Feet, a short while after missing out on Hershey's. Alexander took to the track, practicing, lunging and running stairs. She also switched from the 100-meter dash to the 50.
Under Redfearn's mentorship, Alexander began to tap her potential. A month after taking third in the school qualifier, Alexander has quickly risen to not only becoming a state champion, but regional champion as well.
I realized I was kind of faster, I never knew I was fast. Alexander said, I liked it and started training.
Alexander, who attends Little Valley Elementary, will be a 5th-grader in the fall.
Poulton, who attended George Washington Academy and will also be in the 5th grade, made it past the school qualifier but took fourth place in the district meet. Similar to Alexander, Poulton fell in with Quick Feet and also changed events.
I wanted to try the longer distance, Poulton said.
Poulton switched from running the 400-meter dash to the 800 and took the state championship. She also won the 1,500.
Poulton has taken considerable time off of her past races. She has been training for two hours, three to five days a week in preparation for the finals which will pit her against what Redfearn believes to be future Olympians.
I don't know if I'll take first because there are a lot of fast girls there, but I think I'm going to do pretty well. Poulton said. I'm excited for the road trip but nervous about the race.
Both athletes attributed their success to joining their new track club, having fun with their teammates and the help of their coach.
Redfearn takes pride in helping these young kids, who could have quite easily have given up. He said he also looks forward to finding and helping more kids become success stories like Miley and Lily.