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Half-Steppers return home, give their best effort in New Orleans

on August 7, 2011

All good things must come to an end.

That’s what happened Friday at the Junior Olympics in New Orleans for the Richmond Half-Steppers.

After a two-hour weather delay that saw heavy lightning, thunder and rain, the young Richmond squad ran faster than they ever had before—it’s just that there were a few runners who clocked faster times.

To showcase their effort coach Eric Avery said all relay teams and sprinter Tyrone Morgan, 16, ran personal bests.

Coach Eric Avery. (Photo by Tyler Orsburn)

“To say at the very last meet of the year, the very last run of the year, you did your personal best, you can’t ask for too much more than that,” Avery said. “There’s only eight people that are going to make it to the national final. When you’re talking 10,000 kids and you’re only going to take eight out of each division, and you did your personal best—that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.”

The primary boys’ relay team, composed of 8-year-olds, finished fourth in their heat, while Tyrone Morgan, 16, ran in the fastest 400-yard heat of the day.

Avery said the future is bright for the Half-Steppers because they are young and still learning. “It takes a while before you get to the national and elite level and for them to have gotten this far is a real accomplishment,” Avery said. “So we’re going to use this as a springboard for next year. They now know what it takes to be a national finalist—the kids were happy, there were no tears.”

Avery said he’s going to give the kids a few months off to enjoy the rest of their summer and to acclimate to the new school year. Next year’s track season is less than eight months away. Come October, it’s back to push-ups, sit-ups and long distance running so that they can relive the memories they made this year.

The team is scheduled to board a bus at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Pacific Standard Time. They are scheduled to pull into Martin Luther King Jr. Park at around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

| Follow the team from start to finish.

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