Island youth qualifies for National Junior Olympics a second time

Jaelin Tate, a student at Islander Middle School, placed at local and regional track meets in his age group. - Contributed photo
Jaelin Tate, a student at Islander Middle School, placed at local and regional track meets in his age group.
— image credit: Contributed photo

For the second time in his young life, Mercer Island seventh grader Jaelin Tate qualified for the National Junior Olympics. Two years ago he competed in the event, and this time he earned qualifying spots in three events.

Despite earning those spots, Tate could not attend the national meet for family reasons.

As a member of the High Voltage track team, based in West Seattle, Tate qualified for the national event after earning solid finishes at both the local association meet and the regional meet.

“I’ve always like running,” said Tate.

The journey to Regionals this time around began at the end of June.

At the Junior Olympics association meet at Chief Sealth High School on June 25-26, Tate took first in the 400 run, and third in the 200 meter dash. His time qualified Tate to move forward to the regional meet, held July 7-10 in Spokane.

At regionals, Tate took fourth overall in the 400 meter race with a time of 1:00.89 and third in the 200 meter race in 27.42.

“He definitely would have placed at Nationals,” said Tate’s coach Johnnie Williams. He said based on how other kids from the area did at regionals and at Nationals, Tate would have easily been in the running.

Tate’s been running with High Voltage for the last three season, said his dad Reggie Tate. He said his son loved P.E. and running around, so they figured why not let him try out the team aspect.

“My favorite is running with my friends on the team,” said Tate.

The Islander also plays football and basketball during the rest of the year, and has his eyes set on another track event.

“I want to try long jump,” he said. Reggie Tate said more kids his son’s age are getting into the field events, rather than just the running, so they might give it a try.

Tate practices with High Voltage a couple times a week in West Seattle, lately focusing on speed work and shorter distances for the postseason meets.

While Nationals marked the end of the season for the High Voltage team, Williams said things will pick back up next April.

“He’s done very well,” said Williams of Tate this season.

Tate holds the record for his 400 meter race time of 1:01.56 which he set this summer.


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