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Sikeston girl qualified for the Junior Olympics

Thursday, July 13, 2006

(Photo)
Marissa Jones
SIKESTON -- At the age of seven, Marissa Jones of Sikeston is already preparing for the trip of a lifetime.

In early August, she will travel to Hampton Roads, Virginia to compete in the 2006 AAU Junior Olympic Games.

The Junior Olympics will consist of approximately 18,000 kids ranging from age 7-18 competing in Olympic-style events. The games take place July 26-

August 5.

Marissa has qualified to compete in the 800-meter run, which takes place August 2.

Marissa's run to the Olympics has not been an easy one.

She ran this past season for the Sikeston Stumpers track team and the SEMO Cleats of Fire.

On June 11, she placed third in the AAU District Championships in University City, which qualified her for the regional race.

The Region 8 Championships in Joplin pit her against the best runners from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. In the competition, she bested her previous time by nearly 30 seconds and finished the race in an outstanding time of 3 minutes, 5 seconds, earning her a third-place finish and a spot in the Junior Olympic Games.

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that this is Marissa's first year to race.

"We are so proud of her," said Marissa's father, Gregg Jones. "She has gone a lot further than we expected."

Marissa has been training four days a week at the Sikeston complex to prepare for the Jr. Olympics, but she doesn't mind.

Marissa said she enjoys running and thinks the Olympics will be "a lot of fun."