It’s all in the numbers for the Owings Mills Track Club, which is sending a whopping 36 competitors to the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Ypsilanti, Mich., beginning July 27.
That’s twice as many team members as Owings Mills had last year in the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics at Morgan State University.
Plenty of hardware could be brought back to Baltimore in the 8-to-17-18 age divisions.
“We really have a chance to take home a large number of medals,” Owings Mills coach Vince Rollo said. “Last year, we took home two individual medals and one relay. We’ll probably have two relays that will win medals and at least five individuals.”
Owings Mills assistant coach Shirley Hinton said the versatility of her club’s athletes separate them from other track clubs in the Baltimore area.
The organization boasts 23 competitors participating in one of six field events, including javelin, discus, shot put, high jump, long jump and triple jump.
“Our team is very diverse,” she explained. “We just don’t have a lot of sprinters. You have some teams in the state that only have sprinters or distance runners. We have nationally-ranked sprinters, quality distance runners and nationally-ranked field event kids. You just don’t see that on most teams.”
Sydney Gilbert (12 age group) and Janae Dorsey (13) could experience the most success at the event at Eastern Michigan University.
The 5-foot-4 Gilbert will shoot for a gold medal in the 200 and 400 meters and the high jump.
The 400 is Gilbert’s specialty, the same distance in which she claimed a 2011 AAU national championship in New Orleans.
“In the 400 meters, you’ve got to the able to fight through the pain because it’s the toughest sprint,”Rollo said. “She maintains speed the whole way. She just attacks it.
“She just keeps getting better and better,” he added. “She is running 58 seconds in the quarter-mile. That’s better than most high school kids.”
The 5-foot-8 Dorsey will compete in the 100, 200 and high jump. She also captured an AAU national title in the high jump four years ago in Des Moines, Iowa.
“She knows to compete no matter what is going on,” Hinton said. “She may not be feeling well or may not have good workout sessions during the week, but when she gets to the meet, she is a real competitor.”
The 1,600 relay team, Dorsey, Gabby Halaby, Hinton’s daughter Cameron and Njari McNeil will be challenged in the 13-14 after Dorsey, Halaby and Hinton finished second last year at USA Track & Field Junior Olympic Nationals in the same event.
The 400 relay team of Hinton’s daughter Sage, Adrianna Thomas, Kaylyn Johnson and Kennedy Roberts hope make noise in the 8-year-old division.
The coaching staff is also hoping for standout individual performances from a group of talented girls, including Dasha Beaton (9, long jump, shot put, high, triathlon), Chloe Gross (9, 100, 400), Ashley Thomas (9, 100, 400), Keante Lewis (10, 200, shot put, high jump, triathlon), Rashidat Oridedi (10, 100, 200, 400), Ameerah Oridedi (11, shot put), Halaby (13, 400, 800), Cameron Hinton (13, 200, 400, high jump), Ebony Jones (14, 100, 200 hurdles, high jump), Nala Glibert (15-16, high jump), Tre’j Johnson (15-16, triple jump, high jump), Tiffany Trinh (15-16, 100) and Micha Lewis (17-18, discus, shot put).
On the boys side, Gordan Montrose (9, turbo javelin), Donovan Young (9, high jump), Devin Mason (10, 100, 200, 400), Gabriel Orsini (10, 1,500, turbo javelin), Yemi Windato (10, 200), Corey Crawford (11, high jump, long jump, 80 hurdles, pentathlon), twin brothers Aaron (11, long jump) and Andrew (80 hurdles) Ray, Shawan Lewis (12, discus, shot put), Max Orsini (12, long jump), Ty Trinh (12, 80 hurdles, long jump, pentathlon ), Brodie Holmes (13, 100, 200, 400), Keshawn Lewis (13, long jump, triple jump, high jump), Maalik Vandervall (13, discus, shot put), Niyi Windapo (14, discus, shot put) and Nkosi Beaton (17-18, shot put, discus) will represent Owings Mills.