NORMAN — It’s not everyday that a nine-year old gets a chance to showcase his or her running ability against the best young sprinters in the country. After winning the 100-meter dash in the Hershey Track and Field Games Oklahoma State Qualifier, that’s exactly what Kelby Washington will get an opportunity to do.
Washington, from Moore, had the best time in the 100-meter dash for girls ages 9-10 with a time of 14.43 seconds May 6 at the Norman High School track.
“I’m really excited about my first time to go to Pennsylvania,” Washington, who attends John F. Kennedy Elementary School, said. “I’m a little nervous, because not a lot of people get a chance to do this.”
The Hershey’s Track & Field Games are the largest youth sports program of its kind in North America with thousands of children competing every year. Everyone has a chance to be among the 480 athletes who qualify to compete at the Hershey games Aug. 2-5 in Hershey, Pa.
While Washington is a standout sprinter, she also excels in basketball and soccer. She runs for two track teams, which include the OKC Sprinters and Norman Blaze, she plays on a competitive soccer team out of Oklahoma City and just recently made a competitive basketball team.
Christy Washington, Kelby’s mother, started to become aware of just how much athletic ability her daughter actually had at an early age.
“It always depends on the day of the week which sport she likes the most,” the elder Washington said. “I noticed Kelby’s talent at a real young age, she was outrunning everyone early on.”
Washington might be an all-around athlete, but track seems to grab her attention just a little more than the other sports she plays.
“I like running track because it’s easy for me to run every day,” Washington said.
With all the success and fun Washington has had with track, she didn’t get there from just pure talent alone. A lot of time and commitment has got her to where she is today.
“Hard work and being responsible has really helped me,” Washington said. “To win would be really big.”
The North American Final at the Hershey Track and Field Games will be a true test to see where Kelby ranks among the best sprinters across the country at her age. This could possibly be the biggest race of her life up to this point, and the experience she will bring back to Oklahoma, regardless of the outcome, will be unmatched. This could be the start of something big for her.