Another Atascosa County athlete will be making the trek to Greensboro, North Carolina, to compete in the AAU Junior Olympics at the end of the month.
Kaden Hammonds, 9, of Poteet, qualified in the 100-meter dash and the 4×100-meter relay at the Region 19 meet earlier this month. He will compete at the State Meet on the weekend before he’s scheduled to leave for North Carolina.
The soft-spoken sprinter admitted he has a mix of emotions from excitement to nervousness about competing in the event.
“It’s very, very exciting,” his mother, Angela, said. “Of course, Poteet, it’s a very small town. So, we’ve always known he was fast, but comparing that to 125 kids, you don’t know if that’s considered fast. So, when you go into these other, bigger track meets and see him go up against hundreds of kids and see that he’s one of the top six to go to North Carolina, it’s amazing to know he has that talent to go that far. We’re just so excited.”
Angela knew her son had a passion for running during the annual fun runs in Poteet about a year ago. She just never knew it would turn into something like this.
“He was always getting first. I think one time he got second,” Hammonds said. “For the most part, he’s number one. We knew he was a lot faster. As the year went on, he was getting first place by quite a long ways from second. It didn’t seem like it took much effort.”
That speed and elusiveness has also played out on the pee-wee football field for the aspiring quarterback. His mother says his speed is lethal.
“With his speed, nobody can catch him,” she said. “When we started seeing how fast he was, we started looking to put him on a track team.”
Now, Hammonds is a part of San Antonio Sprinter Elites in the AAU, where he is coached by 2012 Olympian Maurice Mitchell. Mitchell said first-year athletes don’t usually make it to the Junior Olympics, but Kaden is the exception to the rule, he told his parents.
Angela, a teacher at Poteet, also enjoys being able to enjoy her time off by taking Kaden to these meets. It works out well given her schedule.
“It’s perfect timing because I don’t have to take off work or anything,” she continued. “We’ll come back and I’ll have a week before I have to go to work and (my kids) will have a couple more weeks before they have to go back to school. So, hopefully he gets to go back with some good news. ”
The Hammonds family just got back from a meet in Florida in which they made an 11-hour drive. After careful reconsideration, they’re opting to fly to North Carolina instead.
“That’s 20 hours,” Angela emphasized of the North Carolina trip. “Once we got back from Florida, we decided ‘Eh, maybe we’ll just fly instead.’”
The family is currently planning on doing fundraisers for the trip. However, nothing has been set in stone for sure. This story will be updated to reflect any fundraisers set up for the family.
The AAU Junior Olympics will start Saturday, July 27, on the campus of North Carolina A&T University.