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November 23, 2011

 

Opportunity knocks for Homer hurdler

Adkins receives special invite to take track trip to Australia

Track

Photo contributed
Homer Central hurdler Jekeytha Adkins, second from the left during a state meet heat, has received an invitation to compete in Australia this coming July. The junior is currently raising funds to make the trip possible.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

Being a student-athlete in high school can be tough. There’s the balancing of school work, practice and competition, social time and just simple down-time to relax. Few get the opportunity to advance their athletic careers at the college level, and even fewer get extra-special awards.
One of those extra perks has been presented to Homer Central junior track and field standout Jekeytha Adkins. She has been invited to compete in the Down Under Sports Tournament as an East Central Conference Track and Field team member this coming July 1-12 in Australia.
“Down Under Sports sent a letter to the school and the school gave the letter to me,” Adkins said. “It is an honor to get an invitation like this.”
Adkins already owns the school record in the 55-meter hurdles (8.82) and 100m hurdles (16.05), and has appeared in both the indoor and outdoor New York State Track and Field Championships. She still has two years of high school competition in front of her, but she is hoping to take that love of track to compete Down Under this summer.
She will attempt to raise funds to make this Australian trip in the Summer of 2012 a reality.
Adkins got the track and field bug when she was just three years old and living in Ohio, having only lived in the Homer area the past couple of years. She started her Trojan career as a freshman in the fall of 2009.
Her older sister had come to New York and liked it here so her mom moved the family here. She still travels back to East Liverpool, Ohio, to participate in the Pegasus summer track program which she has competed in for the past 12 years.
Adkins said she wasn’t that crazy about just running and she saw the event that she really wanted to compete in, the hurdles, while watching the 2004 Summer Olympics.
“I was nine years old and I saw the hurdlers on the television,” she recalled. “I turned to my mom and said “that’s what I wanted to do.””
“That also started the real dream,” added Adkins’ mother, Judi. “Jekeytha wants to compete in the Olympics one day. I’m excited about this chance for her to go to Australia. This trip won’t be as competitive as the Olympics, but it would give her a taste of what the Olympics would be like.”
Of course, Adkins first ever run competitively in the hurdles was certainly a memorable one. It was a memory that would make most 11-year-olds say this isn’t the event for me.
“Well,” she laughed. “I tripped over the first hurdle, fell, and hit my head four times. I continued to roll into the next lane where the runner stepped on the side of my head with spiked shoes. I ended up with a concussion and went to the hospital. Clearly that messed my head up. My conclusion was I hit my head hard enough to make me crazy enough to keep doing it.”
“Jekeytha has always had this drive to do well,” Mrs.Adkins said. “Her first real taste of winning came when she was six years old in 2002. She took first place in the 50-yard dash, 100-yard dash and long jump and was named MVP during the Pegasus program. She must have 60-70 trophies altogether.”
Of course every dream has a price and, in Adkins case, it’s raising around $5,000 for the 10-day trip that includes practice, competition and the chance to tour the Brisbane area. She will get to learn about the culture, traditions and some history in Australia in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I look forward to meeting new people and learn about a new culture,” Adkins said. “I’m big into learning about cultures. It is a chance to improve myself in athletics and in education.
“I’ve never flown on a plane before so that will be something new,” she added. “I’ve been alone before, but still at a friend’s place before. This will be different rooming with three people I’ve never met. It is an opportunity to learn about them and things about where they are from.”
“I’m fine with her going,” Mrs. Adkins said. “This truly is an awesome opportunity for her.”
The Adkins family are in the process of fundraising for the trip and are seeking donations. They are looking at hosting some events to raise money and any donations would be appreciated. Jekeytha and Judi have sponsorship letters with an address, phone number and website to check out more information on the Down Under Sports Program. The hardest part of the fundraising process is not being from the area originally.
“We are fairly new to the Homer community,” Judi Adkins said. “We just don’t know the right people to contact to set-up certain events like spaghetti dinners, etc. We really want Jekeytha to have this opportunity so we could use any help possible to make her dream a reality.”
For more information or to get a sponsor’s form, call Judi Adkins at 330-831-8081 or email her at judiadkins@yahoo.com.

 

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