WAR competes in USATF meet

Published 10:21 pm Friday, June 23, 2017

Team WAR track and field has three athletes competing in California at the USA track and field Junior Outdoor Championships this weekend.

Three Lady Warriors will get a chance to compete for an opportunity to represent Team USA at the Pan American Junior Championships. That meet will be held in July in Peru. The top three finishers get a chance to represent Team USA.

Kori Carter, Syaira Richardson and Brandee’ Johnson will be participating. Johnson, a 2016 Team WAR alumni, is now a sophomore at the University of Florida.

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Johnson and Richardson both competed last year and represented the United States and Nansemond River High School in IAAF U20 World Championships in Poland. Last year Johnson qualified for the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships and was a third-place finisher in the 400-meter hurdles. She was a IAAF World Championships qualifier in the 400-meter hurdles.

Johnson recently made the 2017 All-SEC freshman team.

This will be the first time for Carter to be in Sacramento qualifying for the team. She will be among the youngest competitors there. She knows what’s a stake but feels accomplished even to be able to receive the opportunity to compete.

“This feels rewarding,” Carter said. “All of my hard work is paying off. I trusted my coach and my training, and it led me here. I’ve never been out of the country, so getting a chance to compete feels unreal.”

Richardson and Carter are coming off the New Balance Nationals Outdoor championships last weekend, where both were All-American honorees.

For Richardson, this will be her third time trying out for the team. Last year she participated in the IAAF Junior Championships in Poland. The current Ohio State Buckeye has been a help to her teammate Carter, giving her advice such as taking advantage of her opportunity.

“Kori is very mature to the sport,” Richardson said. “I just tell her take this as an opportunity to get exposure to college coaches and get your name out there. She will be one of the younger athletes competing. Don’t sell yourself short because of the other competition there.”

Carter has taken the advice in stride. She’s been soaking in everything her teammate has been telling her.

“Syaira has been a huge help through all of this,” Carter said. “She’s been coaching me through it this whole time. Having teammates with me will help. We are all on a mission.”

Since the maximum age limit being for the Juniors National Team is 20, Richardson, Carter and Johnson will be competing against one another.

“This is a good opportunity for all of them,” Warriors coach Justin Byron said. “The irony in all of it is we’ll be going up against Brandee for the first time. But I’m happy for the girls.”

Richardson will run the 400-meter dash, while Carter will compete in both the 100- and 400-meter hurdles. Johnson will compete in the 100- and 400-meter hurdles, along with Carter.