Sikeston girl fares well at AAU Junior Olympic Games

Monday, September 17, 2007
Marissa Jones

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Marissa Jones, 8, recently made her second trip to the AAU Junior Olympic Games held in Knoxville.

Jones was one of approximately 20,000 kids who competed in Olympic style events, qualifying to compete in the 800 and 1500 meter runs in both the AAU and the USATF sanctioning bodies.

On July 10 Jones qualified at the AAU district championships in University City, Mo., placing third in the 800-meter run and second in the 1500-meter run.

Two weeks later she qualified at the USATF district championships in Manchester, Mo., coming away district champion in both events.

Competing against the best runners from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas at the AAU Region 8 championships in Joplin, Mo., she improved upon her district titles by finishing second in the 800-meter run and becoming the region's gold medalist in the 1500-meter run.

On July 14 at SIU University in Edwardsville, Ill., Jones fought off the competition and came away with gold to become the USATF sanctioning bodies regional champion in both the 800 and 1500-meter runs.

On July 31, Jones capped at a great season at the AAU Junior Olympics held in Knoxville. Jones improved upon her 12th place national seed by finishing sixth in the nation in the 1500-meter run with a personal best time of 5:41. The following day, competing in the 800-meter run, she also improved on her 26th seed time to finish 19th in the nation.

While Jones had a very busy summer, her training started in January and ended with a summer workout of four-to-five days a week. She also ran in many area 5K and one-mile runs and on July 7 broke the 5K state record for 8-year-old girls on a difficult course called the Hannibal Cannibal. The record had previously been set in 1999.

Marissa is the daughter of Gregg and Karen Jones of Sikeston, who would like to thank the Sikeston Stumpers and SEMO Cleats of Fire track teams, and give special thanks to coach Adam Lofton for a successful year.

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