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|Peak athletes perform well at nationals|
Several local athletes from Peak Performance Track Club in Monroe traveled to Greensboro, N.C. for the USATF Junior Olympic National Championships where several of them recorded their personal bests in national competition.
Ashley Aldredge, a student at Cedar Creek High School, set a national championship meet record with a throw of 148'6" in the javelin, which was the first of medals taken home by Peak Performance.
Aldredge has already competed internationally this summer in Italy and is a multi-sport star as a senior-to-be at Cedar Creek.
Sixth-place in the same event was Jennifer Gross of Sterlington. Gross threw the javelin 119'4" to place in the top eight.
"She (Gross) has a way of getting things to go her way," Peak Performance head coach Dennis Groll said. "We were real proud of the way our kids battled some good competition. The rain made conditions slippery and wet. It cleared out some later in the day and Jennifer made a good throw to place sixth."
Demetri Hampton ran a blazing fast time of 47.98 seconds in the 400-meter race. The time came in the preliminary heat and was the fastest time ever recorded for Hampton in competition. Hampton is a ULM signee and will enroll in college this month.
Later, in the finals, Hampton got off to a good start but was later disqualified for stepping on the lane line.
"The judges were calling it real tight," Groll said. "He is capable of running the time that he needs to get there."
Hampton will have a busy summer schedule in the future while at ULM, but may still run toward a goal of running in the 2012 Olympics in London.
"The big thing for him this summer was he got a lot of good experience," Groll said. "He learned to get out fast and not have to play catch-up in these tough races."
Jacob Heckford, a two-time defending district champion from West Ouachita, placed 12th nationally in the 400-meter race.
"Jacob (Heckford) got boxed in early and could not get off the rail," Groll said. "He could not regain his momentum."
Chris Evans of West Monroe High School cleared his personal best of 5'7" in the high jump. While not finishing as high as he wanted, Evans made the leap in his own goals as he continues to improve from one competition to the next.
"His first jump he made his best jump ever," Groll said. "He keeps getting better each time out and did real well against hard competition at nationals."
Xavier Davis and Kenton Davis of Monroe competed in the high jump and also represented the parish well.
"It is always the largest meet of American athletes and there are some real good people there," Groll said. "The weather was tough in some spots. We were real proud of the way our kids represented Peak Performance and competed."