Seven head to Junior Olympics

Published 9:13 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Phranchize Phamilee AAU track and field team will be sending seven athletes to the Junior Olympics in East Lansing, Mich., next week.

Phranchize Phamilee is a first-year AAU track program with participants that range in age from 6 to 17. It is based out of Suffolk and consists of athletes from nearby cities in Hampton Roads. Phranchize Phamilee had athletes perform in the district meet and had 10 athletes qualify for the regional meet. From there, seven of the 10 were able to qualify for the Junior Olympics.

Out of the seven athletes, three will compete in field events and four will compete in running events. Five of the athletes who qualify are participating in track and field for the first time.

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Lauren Lewis, Mikyah Johnson, Takyla Brower, Lauryn McGlone and Emmanuel Johnson are all Suffolk natives who will be participating in the Junior Olympics. Coach Alonzo McGlone is excited for what has happened in the first year of the program.

Mikyah and Emmauel Johnson are first-year participants in Phranchize Phamilee that have qualified for the Junior Olympics.

“Being excited is an understatement,” McGlone joked. “I’m just really proud of the kids and everyone involved.”

McGlone gives a lot of credit to the athletes’ parents who are willing to allow their kids to participate in the Junior Olympics. At the beginning of the season, McGlone said he asked parents and athletes to make a deal with each other — an agreement that if anyone qualified for the Junior Olympics, the organization would make a strong effort to go.

“For us to actually to have the commitment and follow-through from the parents is a blessing,” McGlone said. “I’m so very proud of our athletes and everyone involved.”

The season as a whole was a success for the Phranchize Phamilee. The more experience the kids got, the faster they were running and the farther they were jumping. With so many first time performers on the track being successful, the Phranchize Phamilee believes it has a bright future.

“All you can ask sometimes is for someone to give the sport a chance,” McGlone said. “Sometimes you give something a chance and end up being better than you thought you would be. I have some kids who are definitely falling in love with the sport. With track and field, you get an instant gratification when you do well.”

Preparation for the Junior Olympics will be the regular routine it has been during the season. McGlone and his staff just want to fine-tune what has already been taught this season. The athletes’ hard work up to this point is what got them in this position. Now, it is time to dial in on the opportunity at hand.