The Carrollton Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department s track and field team will be competing at the USATF Region 3 Junior Olympic Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Mill Creek High School in Hoschton today through Sunday for a chance to reach the National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships, which will be held in Wichita, Kan., on July 26-31. Front row (L-R): Trey Pope, Dajah Sheppard, Jeremiah Pierce, Shamari Vaughn and Justin Parham. Second row (L-R): Dylan Parham, Kyle Terrell, Alecia North, Tyler Terry, Amanda McGowan and Reggie Hill. Back row (L-R): Coach Justin Jones, Trey Chivers, Maurice Boykin, De Antoine Terrell and coach Larry Turner. Not pictured: Olivia Dukes, Lashanti Williams, Samantha Pope and Jackson McNealey. (Corey Cusick/Times-Georgian) view image The road to nationals begins today for the Carrollton Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department’s track and field team.

CPRCAD track and field coach Larry Turner will be taking 23 competitors to the USATF Region 3 Junior Olympic Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, where they will battle for berths into the national meet.

The top-three finishers in each event will qualify for the National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships, which will be held at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan., from July 26-31.

Turner is hopeful his athletes will perform to the best of their abilities this week against some of the top competition along the East Coast in order to send as many as possible on through to nationals.

“I’m hoping to get all [23] of them. That’s what we’re hoping. This is a region meet, so you’ve got to figure that the Region 3 teams we’re competing against got good athletes, too,” Turner said. “You know, you’ve got Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, they’re all good, man. But we think we’re pretty good, too.”

Several of the CPRCAD team members qualified for nationals last year, with Kyle Terrell capturing a fourth-place finish in the Youth Boys triple jump, while Marquis Barnes took fifth in the Youth Boys long jump and eighth in the 200-meter hurdles in Sacramento, Calif.

Rounding out the national competitors returning that placed last year are Jeremiah Pierce (15th in Bantam boys shot put) and Dylan Parham (10th place in Midget boys high jump).

Of course, Carrollton High School standout Jonathan Jones is no stranger to these high-level competitions, either. Jones competed at the 2011 New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., on June 16-18.

Turner is confident his seasoned competitors will do well this week, but he noted that you can’t take anything for granted when you get to these type of meets.

“Well, we’ve got a wait-and-see kind of thing. The only person that probably we could say is a shoo-in is Jonathan Jones. But I think we’ve got guys that can make it happen and will make it happen. We’re not looking too far into that crystal ball until it does happen,” Turner said.

Turner has around a dozen team members that have competed on the regional level before, and he’s hopeful they will be able to help some of the first-timers shake off any pre-race nerves.

“Yeah, there will be a little bit of jitters the first time. So we’ll work with them, too. And hopefully the veterans, the people that have been there before, can pull them along. That’s what we’re hoping for,” Turner said.

Read more: Times-Georgian - Road to Nationals