A winning family on the track

Published 9:34 pm Wednesday, August 10, 2016

By Henry Luzzatto


For the Roses, winning races is a family activity.

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Marcia Rose and her husband Michael are two former track stars who have raised a family of talented runners. Their four children, R.J., Michaela, Michail and Michailyn took home a total of seven medals at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games in Houston, Texas, last week.

“I’m so proud,” Marcia Rose said. “It’s a blessing.”

The four kids participated in more than a dozen track and field events at the Junior Olympics. The oldest, R.J., took home a silver medal in the 4×400 meter relay with Virginia Elite Track Field, the team all four run for. R.J.’s younger sister, Michaela, won bronze in the 400-meter race, bronze in the 4×800 meter relay, gold in the 4×400 meter relay and gold in the 800-meter race. The third child, Michail, took home a bronze medal in the high jump. Michailyn, the youngest, brought home a silver medal in the eight-and-under 800-meter race.

It’s quite the medal haul for a family.

Michaela Rose competes during the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games in Houston, Texas, last week. She and her three siblings brought home a total of seven medals from the competition.

Michaela Rose competes during the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games in Houston, Texas, last week. She and her three siblings brought home a total of seven medals from the competition.

Though one might assume the results are from good genes — both their parents ran track in college — Marcia Rose said the success equally comes from hard work.

“They always work to get better,” she said, “but I believe God has blessed us with talent.”

Though Marcia’s husband Michael Rose nearly made the Jamaican Olympic team in 1996 and coaches the track and cross-country teams at Tallwood High School, she said they never pressured their kids to take up the sport.

“We didn’t want to force anyone to run,” she said.

In fact, even though each of the four siblings participated in the Junior Olympics, 11-year-old Michail said his focus is more on football than track and field.

Despite his heart being set on a different sport, Michail won a bronze medal in the high jump with a height of 4 feet, 11 inches.

Michail said he worked hard over the course of the year to reach the heights he achieved.

“I made sure to practice hard and fix my mistakes, and not get down on myself when it gets hard,” he said.

While Michail may enjoy football more than track and field, his older sister, Michaela, had her heart set on running from a young age.

Marcia Rose said Michaela ran a full mile with her at the age of 3 and insisted on running cross country.

“That’s how I knew there was something different,” she said.

Michaela ran at her first national meet at the age of 4. Though she finished last in that first race, Michaela persevered, becoming one of the top runners in her age group.

Michaela led the family’s medals total, winning two gold medals and two bronze. The 13-year-old said she wants to continue to develop her talents and eventually run professionally.

“It feels wonderful to win,” she said. “I know I’m not done yet. I want to go professional.”

Michaela, who specializes in the 800-meter, said she will be watching the Olympics with a hope of making it there one day.

“I haven’t finished running until I break world records,” she said.

Michailyn, the youngest, earned her first national medal at the Junior Olympics. She said she hopes to keep running and continue improving.

“I like being able to challenge other kids and their talent,” she said.

Despite taking home her first national medal in the 8-and-under, 800-meter race, Michailyn said she was not satisfied with her results.

“I didn’t work hard enough,” she said. “I need to keep working so I can win next time.”

While Michailyn took home her first national medal, the oldest child, R.J., also broke a personal barrier, winning silver in the 1,600-meter relay.

“It feels good,” he said. “I remember when I was just missing the medal times in the last few years.”

R.J. said he had better results this year because he began running relays and changed his attitude.
“I’m more aggressive than I was,” he said. R.J. said he hopes use his athletic abilities to pursue a college scholarship, though he is undecided about where he wants to go.

Having a family of star athletes can be a blessing and a challenge.

For Marcia Rose, getting everybody to and from events can be like running her own race.

“It was difficult to get everybody where they needed to be,” she said. “We’re running from one side of the stadium to the other to get everybody checked in, and then going to go see the races.”

Despite the difficulty that comes with it, Marcia Rose said her star-studded family is great.

“It’s a blessing, that’s for sure,” she said.

R.J. agreed, saying how happy he is to be surrounded by a family of successful athletes.

“It makes me proud to be part of the family,” he said.