The East Palo Alto Greyhounds' Midget Girls' 400 relay team had the best finish of any local competitors at the USATF National Junior Olympics track and field championships that finished up Sunday at Sacramento City College.
The Greyhounds' team of Aishah Ahmad, Rashawn Ford, Jenae Pennywell and Nalani Williams finished sixth in the finals in 52.01. The same squad had qualified first in their qualifying heat in 51.70.
Also reaching the finals was Menlo-Atherton senior Jason McGhee in the Young Men's 800. He wound up eighth in 1:55.81 after qualifying seventh in his heat in 1:55.26. The race capped a solid season for McGhee, who reached the California State Meet for the first time in June.
McGhee also ran on the ISC International Empire TC's mile relay team that just missed qualifying for the finals, taking ninth overall in 3:19.75. Other team members included Jesse Arenas, Andrew Chapman and Juquelle Thompson.
Madeline Price, an incoming freshman at Menlo School and also a member of the Menlo iGreyhounds, finished 10th overall with a time of 57.92 in the Intermediate Girls' 400 meters. Price's personal record last summer was 1:00.65.
Coming into this meet, Price was seeded 20th overall with a time of 58.55 (3rd in her region - Region 16.) Not only did she better the top two in her region at the Trials, Price went on to run the fastest time in the state for her age group. Price is on the younger part of her division so she'll compete for the title next summer in the same division.
"I had a very good feeling about Maddy's performance, since she trained very hard, gave herself a chance to keep up with the best, and she did it!" said Jorge Chen, coach of the iGreyhounds. "We will see her in the podium next summer as she now knows that she can do it!"
Said Price: "It was an honor to represent the State of California and to be the fastest girl in my state. At the time, I needed to do my best against the best girls from all over the nation. And with my coach's timed training and game plan to peak here along with my dad's lifetime motivation to do my best and 'pull the trigger', I've obtained my best performance thus far. By being the youngest in my division, I am shooting for Top 3 next summer."
In other events, Aishah Ahmad of the EPA Greyhounds was 12th in qualifying in the 200 meters in Midget Girls (27.25) and did not reach the finals. Dijohn Williams was 22nd overall in qualifying in the Intermediate Boys' 400 (52.81) and Brandon Bains of the EPA Greyhounds failed to advance in the Midget Boys' high jump after clearing 4-1 1/4.
Palo Alto's Kent Slaney earned All American honors along with his Pleasant Heat Running Club teammates Ben Zaeske, KJ Moody and Leo Skellenger in the 3,200 relay, which placed seventh in 10:09.21.