DOUG BARBER/SUN HERALDThe Youth Xpress track club qualified 18 athletes for the Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa. Qualifiers are Gavion Brown, Keith Hasker, Cabrein Bell, Radiance Braxton, Heaven Maurice, Trinity Maurice, Lania McDonald, Jada Smith, Tajah Bunns, Jamese Reed, Denim Lombard, and Ke'Niyah Scott. Also pictured are Shakim Buckley, De'Roy Willis, Sanaa Stough, Joshua Brill, Imani Willis, Kelxie Crain, Erin Dees, Le'Roy Willis and Aaliyah Willis. Qualifiers not pictured are Cameron Garrett, Jeremy Mares, Eden Maurice, Jon Charles Williams, Juan Harvey and Aneisha Bell.

GULFPORT -- The Youth Xpress track club qualified 18 of its members for the Junior Olympics Track and Field Meet in Des Moines, Iowa, that runs July 25-Aug. 2.

The competitors range from age 5 to 18 and qualified recently at Covington, La., High School's Jack Salter Stadium.

The Youth Xpress club practices at Gulfport High and Pass Christian High, and has competed in meets in New Orleans, Port Allen, La., Lafayette, La., and Baton Rouge.

The coaches are Rico Griffin and Keturah Maurice.

The 18 athletes qualified in 40 events.

They are Cameron Garrett, Gavion Brown, Keith Hasker, Jeremy Mares, Cabrein Bell, Radiance Braxton, Heaven Maurice, Trinity Maurice, Eden Maurice, Lania McDonald, Jada Smith, Tajah Bunns, Jamese Reed, Jon Charles Williams, Denim Lombard, Juan Harvey, Ke'Niyah Scott and Aneisha Bell.

"The top eight qualify in the running events and the top five in field events,'' Griffin said. "The younger kids are definitely better in the field events. We have a very good distance runner in Cameron Garrett from Ocean Springs. He was first in three of four events (400-, 800-, 1,500- and the 3,000-meter runs).

Aneisha Bell from Biloxi High did well in the discus and shot put, and has taken up the javelin this summer.

"The younger kids did well in the turbo javelin and the older kids throw the older javelin,'' Keturah Maurice said. "We have had a lot of help from assistant coaches in Pass Christian and Gulfport. They have volunteered their time to help these children. We have had a lot of participation.''

The club is doing fund-raising for nationals in various ways, including car washes. Anyone interested in helping out the track club can go to www.youthxpresstrack.org or 254-6239.


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