Dominic Byles laces up his spike track shoes, reaches down and touches his toes for a good stretch, steps onto the burnt red, rough track and places his feet into the starting blocks. A deep breath in… and a deep breath out.
The referee counts down, pulls the trigger on starter pistol, and Dominic’s off, racing down his lane on the track.
Last summer, eighth-grader Dominic Byles ran the 200 and 600-meter sprints at the United States of America Track and Field Junior Olympics in North Carolina.
“I won everything up in North Carolina,” Byles said. “Then in the finals I came first in the two hundred sprint, and sixth in the six hundred sprint.”
Dominic’s achievements didn’t just appear overnight. He trained early every morning and continuous afternoons to be able to compete in the track meets.
“You have to train everyday, work on different things, and keep on making the workout harder and harder as you go,” Byles said.
Although Byles has achieved award winning feats at the USATF Junior Olympics, his journey getting there wasn’t so easy.
“Training by myself was difficult,” Byles said. “Having to get up when you don’t want to and complete workouts that you don’t like sometimes is a struggle.”
Beyond Byles’ struggles, he was still able to push through with support from his friends and family.
“My dad and my cousins have helped me the most throughout my track journey,” Byles said. “My dad makes my workouts and my friend, Christian Akins, motivates me while we workout.”
According to Dominic, he has made a lot of friends through track and gained many supporters while doing what he does best.
“We met through track and I just have to say that Dominic’s a really great athlete,” eighth-grader Jau’Vaughn Warren said. “He pushes all the way through no matter what and he always keeps going.”
Dominic’s journey doesn’t stop here. He is continuing to grow and work on his craft as a runner. People and coaches are also looking forward to seeing Dominic’s journey progress as the times come.
“He’s easy to coach and has a great work ethic,” Coach David Sawyer said. “He’s an outstanding kid, and we can’t wait to see him up on our leaderboard.”
Story by Brittany Wood and Madison Brooks