Rockets in preparation for national track meet


Sports Editor

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Rocky Mount Rockets are back on the national stage.

A record 14 Rockets will run in the National Junior Olympic Track & Field championships beginning next week in Lawrence, Kansas.

The Rockets earned spots in the national meet by performing well last weekend at the regional meet in Greensboro.

Three age groups will be represented in Kansas, as the 8-9 year-old 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams earned spots after finishing as the regional runner-up. Candrice Davis will be the lone Rocket to run individually in the age group. Davis finished fourth in the region in the 1,5000.

“Our eight- and nine-year old girls are running the same exact times as our 9-10 girls did last year,” Rockets coach Mark Davis said.

The 9-10 age group will also take a pair of relay teams to Kansas. The Rockets’ 4x100 relay squad was runner-up at the regional, and the 4x400 team placed third. The group’s lone returning all-american, Kira Jones, missed out on qualifying for the 400 after competing with a hamstring injury.

The 11-12 age group will send Jayla Mills, who finished third in the 800. The group also earned the last qualifying spot in the 4x400 after finishing fifth in the region.

The Rockets sent eight members to Sacramento, California for the 2016 national championships.

“This is the most we’ve ever taken,” Davis said. “It’s a sign that the program is getting better. Every meet, we’re seeing our times drop 2-3 seconds.”

Although this trip is within driving distance at approximately 17 hours, the team is soliciting help with travel. The City of Rocky Mount is renting a vehicle for the athletes. The team is selling raffle tickets with a top prize of $100 to aid with hotel and food costs, and they also have set up a GoFundMe page.

Donations can also be made by contacting the City of Rocky Mount Parks & Recreation Department.