New track club returns from Florida with 14 medals

Athletes from the newly formed 345 Athletics Cub pose at Owen Roberts International Airport.

Eleven athletes of the newly formed 345 Athletics Club returned with 14 medals from the recent annual Bay Area Track and Field Championships at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

The team earned three gold, five silver and six bronze medals in four track events.
Club members Kiara McLaughlin, Tiffany Cole, Marlena Williams, Evin Johnson, Mikaeyla Dacres, Ava Hider, James Crooks, Levi Superville, Juan Pablo Valerio and Molly Kehoe had outstanding performances, said coach Derek Larner.

Competing in the 17- to 19-year-old girls 1,500m and 3,000m, Kiara McLaughlin, with finishing times of 5:22.13 and 12:11.57, won gold and silver.

Marlena Williams won bronze in the 17- to 19-year-old girls 800m in 2:31.02, and in the 1,500m, she took third place in 5:22.15.

Tiffany Cole, 19, placed second in the Masters Open ladies 800m and 1,500m.
Middle distance runner Juan Pablo Valerio won bronze and silver in the 13-year-old boys 800m and 1,500m.

Coach Larner also medaled twice. In the Masters over 50 division, Larner took gold in the 800m and 1,500m.

After placing seventh and fifth in the 800m and 1,500m, respectively, Molly Kehoe, 12, finished second in the 3,000m in 11:56.40.

James Crooks, who placed fifth in the 1,500m, and eighth in the 800m, took bronze in the 12-year-old boys 3,000m.

Levi Superville, 13, and Ava Hider, 14, won bronze in their respective 3,000m events.
Evin Johnson, 13, and Mikaeyla Dacres both competed in the 800m, and Johnson also competed in the 400m. Each made notable efforts said coach Larner.

“I will say, as coach, I was absolutely delighted that everyone performed exceptionally well,” Larner said. “Just about all juniors [experienced what it was like] competing overseas for the first time, [and] the amount of medals for such a small club is exceptional.”

Larner said every athlete has “at least attained a new personal best record.”

The 345 Athletics Club, formed on May 10, for now has only middle-distance runners, but looks forward to having its members compete in other events, such as field events, the coach said.

“We hope to build on what we have achieved, and develop the new 345 Athletic Club for next season,” said Larner. “Well done again to all the athletes who attended as there were many personal best performances and we could not have asked for more.”

The 345 Athletics Club meets at the Truman Bodden track on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. To join the club, email [email protected]