SARASOTA – Athletes from Sarasota showcased their talents at the AAU Junior Olympics.


The Junior Olympics is known as the largest national multi sport event for youth in the United States.


“Fun. Had to work hard,” said Sanii Shields.


She competed in the 100, 200, and 4 by 100 meter dash relay. She’s 9 years old Sanaii Sheilds and she’s talking about competing in the Junior Olympics that took place in Iowa.


38 of 42 student athletes from the AMP track club competed in the junior Olympics, participating in track and field events against thousands of kids from other places around the world.


“to even qualify to something of this level when you have people coming from all around the country and you even have people coming from international locations. It’s a big deal. So to have 90 percent of our team qualify it says a lot about our program and what we’re doing,” said Roderick Miller, strength and conditioning coach and co-creator of AMP track club.


Competing in the junior Olympics is an experience that will last a lifetime for 12 year old Jakai Peterson.


“most of our meets before the Junior Olympics were people closer to Florida, but once we got there it was people all over the world and it was crazy,”said Peterson.


Peterson ran in the 200, 400, and 4 by 100 meter dash. She didn’t make it to podium this time, but she ranked 11th overall in the 200 and 9th overall in the 400. She’s already ready for next year.


“I know there’s some fast people I have to run harder and do better and practice a lot and no playing around. It’s the real deal,” said Peterson.


It was the real deal for Tyler Beck as well… A 13 year old pole-vaulter


“There were people from all over. There were people from Puerto Rico, Jamaica, all over. Its just an experience coming off jumping up just landing and realizing you’re on such a world stage,” said Beck.


“He’s 13 competing amongst 14 year olds, but for him to step in and embrace the challenge and take 5th overall in the polevault is a great accomplishment for him,” said Miller.


The junior Olympics was more than an athletic experience for the team. Miller and the rest of the AMP track club coaches used it as a time to educate as well. Taking the team on a college tour.


“This year we were able to tour Drake University. It was a good experience with that. We got to meet the coaches and a few of the players and actually tour the location,” said Miller.


To find out more information about AMP Track Club, visit AMP Track Club’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ampathletics.org/).