Kennedy Lightner runs the 100m prelims at 2017 AAU Junior Olympic Games
Last year, it was Florida's Tyrese Cooper who was the star of the 15-16 year old boys division. Cooper razzle dazzled the crowd in the 100m, 200m, and the 400m. Can it be done a second year in a row? Is there really another athlete that can replicate Cooper's outstanding performances?
Beginning today, the stage is set, the lights will be on, and the crowd will be in their seats. Stage right, Arkansas prep Kennedy Lightner enters.
Lightner is not new to the AAU stage. He was in Humble, Texas last year right beside Cooper as he owned the track. In fact, Lightner was entered in the fields and in the 200m, he finished right second right behind Cooper. He medaled in the 100m and 200m with his 7th place 10.97 and his runner-up finish behind Copper in 21.88.
His times in the finals were 10.97 and 21.88, which are very respectable for a 15 year old boy, but last year seems like ages ago. Those times are in the rear view mirror for Lightner who has improved leaps and bounds since the 2016 AAU Junior Olympic Games. Last week, Lightner took the triple crown at the USATF Junior Olympic Games with winning times of 10.49, 20.82, and 47.29. His 20.82 broke the national 15-16 year old boys record and the USATF Junior Olympic record set by Cooper.
This week, Lightner comes into the AAU Junior Olympic Games on a hot streak like no other. Does he have enough juice left to compete in all three events and take down yet another national level field of runners like he did this past weekend? Only time will tell. What we do know is if he does attempt all three events for the second straight weekend he has a good chance at three more wins. Lightner has improved his personal best in the 100m by almost half a second, his 200m personal best by over a full second, and added the 400m by running some elite times. Who does that? Those improvements in a one year span are astronomical when it comes to sprinting.
Today, Lightner dropped a 10.63 in the 100m prelims to earn the top time heading into the semifinals. Don't miss the potential of another history making meet at this year's AAU Junior Olympic Games and the emergence of a new American youth track and field star in Lightner. It's a guarnatee, you will know who Kennedy Lightner is by the end of this week!
Tune into FloTrack to watch the 2017 AAU Junior Olympic Games from Ypsilanti, Michigan, July 29 through August 5!