Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A beeline to county track titles: Jeff Joseph

Middle school athletes display speed and agility in season-ending meet

Johnnie Dixon can stake a claim to being among the fastest middle-school runners in Palm Beach County.
The eighth-grade standout at Watkins Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens won both the 100- and 200-meter dash during the county's recent middle school track and field championship meet at Park Vista High School.

Dixon also took first place in the long jump as part of his all-around super showing.

"I got faster. I worked harder. I was running, running and running," said Dixon, who finished fifth in both dash distances last year. "It's one of the best things that ever happened to me."

Crestwood Middle (Royal Palm Beach) took center stage by sweeping both the boys' and girls' team championships. The Eagles boys' team won its first county track and field title as it doubled up Watkins Middle, 80-40. Bear Lakes Middle (West Palm Beach) took third place with 39 points. Crestwood's girls held off Polo Park, 65-53, while Emerald Cove's 51 points was good for third place.

When Tradewinds (Greenacres) Middle School seventh-grader Jeff Joseph crossed the finish line after winning the boys' 1,600-meter dash, he paused for a moment and pointed to the sky.

"I had some friends from my [rec] soccer team and my school soccer team who died in the earthquake, so this is for them," said Joseph, who moved to the United States from Haiti in December. "It was not easy, but I practiced hard, and my coach told me what to do. I give her a lot of credit for what I accomplished. She told me not to give up."

Tradewinds coach Jennifer White said the 13-year-old Joseph is a pleasure to work with.

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