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Local track athletes headed to national event

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Sixteen members of the Johnston County-based Evolution Track Club qualified for the upcoming AAU Junior Olympic Track and Field National Championship after strong showings at the North Carolina AAU Area 25 Regional Qualifier held at UNC Charlotte on June 27-30.

“That’s a blessing,” Evolution founder Rhea Yates said. “It tells me a lot about our area. We have a lot of talent in Johnston County.”

Jahzara McIver; James McLean; Ethan Kennedy; Kendal Davis; Everett Alston; Jammie Smith; Priya Murray; Madison Mack; Josiah McIver; Kyndal Saunders; Tatiana Powell; Alex Davis; Teanna Bell; Jayden Gray and Layla Gunter will all be headed to Greensboro to compete in the national competition from July 27-Aug. 3.

To highlight a long list of top performances for the Evolution athletes, the team of Alston, Gray, McLean and Josiah McIver took home the region’s gold medal in the 11- to 12-year-old 4x400 meter event.

Yates said her team’s individual performances reflect a lot of hard work as they look forward to the national event later this month.

“We enjoy track and field and the kids do too,” she said. “It warms my heart.”