Braden River High junior Kayla Gray crossed the finish line in 13.21 to win the 100-meter dash at Manatee County Championships April 2, at Manatee High.
She returned to the track later that evening to capture the 200 in 27.50.
Gray followed up her performance with a second-place finish in the 100, at the Palmetto Relays April 5.
Being a Manatee County champion shows that hard work does pay off.
I was nervous at first because the whole county was there, and I didn’t think I was the fastest. When I saw the paper that I (won) the 100, I thought, “Eh, that’s easy.” I prepared for the 200, and when I saw the paper that said I was first overall in the 200, I was more than excited.
I prefer the 100 to the 200 any day. In the 200, you have to find that extra push (at the end).
I started running in eighth grade when soccer started getting serious. I started doing track to stay in shape for soccer.
I enjoy the atmosphere that my coaches give me and, most importantly — winning.
I made it to regionals last year, but I couldn’t go because I left for Guatemala for soccer. I was just happy that I made it that far. This year, I want to make it to 11.9 in the 100 and definitely go to states.
If I couldn’t be a sprinter, I would want to try the 400 to make my coach realize they do need sprinters like me.
I’ve always wanted to be a sprinter. That’s something I’m good at.
I’m still debating if I want to run track in college. My dad would love to see me run track and do soccer in college.
I actually have three sprinters who I look up to. First, there’s my dad. He was a former Olympian. And then (Jamaican sprinters) Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake. When they come on the track, it’s nothing but business, and they take care of business every year.
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Food and fun
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and its Young Leaders Alliance have something to talk about: the organizations collected 764 pounds of nonperishable food and $1,295 cash to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee/Meals on Wheels PLUS.
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A little “Ho! Ho! Ho!” can go a long way this holiday season.