LAKEWOOD, WA — Saudia James-Heard, an eight-year-old third-grader at Clover Park School District’s Park Lodge Elementary School, participated in the Amateur Athletic Union’s (AAU) National Junior Olympics in Detroit, MI, this summer. James-Heard placed 14th nationally in the 400 meter run and is currently ranked first in the state in the 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter runs.
James-Heard has always liked running, but didn’t develop her competitive edge until she participated in a race at a family birthday party.
“I beat all of the kids and even some of the adults,” said James-Heard. “My dad signed me up for track afterwards. I really like running.”
James-Heard is a member of the Cheetahs Track Club, which meets at Park Lodge each summer. She participated in track meets sponsored by South Sound Running, and consistently placed first in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and the 400 meter races for primary school-aged girls. James-Heard qualified for the AAU National Junior Olympics by earning the fastest times in the 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter races at the western regional finals, made up of runners from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. She won three first place medals and was the top qualifier in her division.
When asked what career she hopes to have, James-Heard enthusiastically declared “a track star.” She encourages others to run and be active.