New York Lyons Mane Track Club members Lauren Lyons, Jonathan Huggins, Cache Strother, Briel Biggs, Justin Nesbitt and Kadreya Simeon have all qualified for the Amateur Athletic Union National Championship to be held in Detroit, Michigan at the end of the month.
However, a lack of funds for air travel, transportation and hotel expenses could keep the Bronx athletes from living their dream of a national track title.
“It would be really unfortunate to watch these kids work so hard all year long and come up short of a national title, not because they lost a race, but because they were unable to come up with the funds to even compete,” said Donald Lyons, team founder. “But, so far, I haven’t had much luck in raising the funds necessary to make the trip.”
The six young runners were among eight who traveled out to New Haven, Connecticut on Saturday, June 28, and Sunday, June 29, at the Southern Connecticut State University track and field facility, to compete in the Region I Regional Championship qualifier; a prerequisite to the National Championship where the top four finishers in each division and event advance.
The kids competed against other youth from Adirondacks, Connecticut, Metropolitan New York, New England, New Jersey, and Niagara territories in a two day, grueling competition in events that included the 100-meter dash, 800-meter run, the long jump and shot put.
Stepping up to overcome the competition and the weather, Lyons, a sub-midget girl, led the way, finishing in first place in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, and the long jump.
Following Lyons, Huggins, a primary boy, and a new runner, finished in third place in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash.
Also advancing and receiving medals in the field events competition were Strother, finishing third in the shot put, and her younger sister Simeon, who placed third in the primary girls long jump.
Finally, finishing in the top four positions in their division were Biggs, a midget girl, and Nesbitt, a sub-youth boy, in the 400-meter dash and long jump, respectively. Although they did not receive medals, they also qualified for the championships.
“When you consider that most of these runners are new to track, that’s quite an impressive feat,” said Donald Lyons. “If we can just get them to Detroit, I know they would make the Bronx proud.”
Anyone looking to help the New York Lyons Mane Track Club reach the nationals, can do so by calling (718) 320-8035.