Jeice Crooks is going for gold at the AAU Junior Olympics

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 8:16 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Jeice Crooks is going for gold at the ripe age of seven.

The soon to be second grader at Deer Point Elementary is chasing some serious hardware at the upcoming Junior Olympics, and mom, Rennetra Crooks, was the one who decided to put him to the test with the district trials in Fort Walton Beach.

“He has always heard, ‘That kid is fast. That kid is fast,’ so he would be like ‘Mom, I’m pretty fast,’ said Rennetra. “I said ‘Okay, let’s give you some competition. Let’s put you there. Let’s put it forth. Let’s see how you do,’ and he went out and he succeeded in everything that he did.”

Jeice qualified in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 400 meter at District’s sending him to Regionals in Tallahassee going up against 7 to 8 year olds from all over the state. From there, he qualified for the Junior Olympics in Texas in the 100 meter and 400 meter, one of only six runners in each event.

“I didn’t start till I was 13,” said Jeice’s coach and Bay girls track coach, Adrianna Hill. “To start this young is so exciting because they actually make it to the Junior Olympics. It’s not just going out there just to run. They’re competing.”

Jeice trains with Coach Hill Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. working on combining his speed with a little technique.

“He’s very coachable. He’s a great young man to work with. There’s not many times that young kids understand the sport and know, ‘Hey, this is what you’ve got to do to get better.’”

For Rennetra, she hopes Jeice’s progress and determination on the track will carry over to every part of his life.

“However far he wants to go when he puts forth this effort, he can go and be whatever it is he wants to be in life.”

Coach Hill thinks kids like Jeice will help lay the foundation for the sport of track for future athletes in the community.

“To the young kids interested in track, it’s like ‘Yes! We’ve finally got a group of kids that are interested and excited about it, and they’re coming out and training and doing great things.”

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