He’s come a long way. This week the 9-year-old competed in the Amateur Athletic Union National Junior Olympics in Houston.
Amarion, who’s about to enter fourth grade at Cornerstone Christian School in Antioch, competes in the 800- and 1500-meter races. His parents believe his strong work ethic and attention to detail fuel his desire to compete.
“He’s very dedicated,” Benita said. “Where most kids wouldn’t want to wake up at six, he’s up practicing. There’s no ‘not today, mom; not today, dad.”
Both parents describe him as a competitive kid. Whatever sport he’s participating in, the goal is to be the best. His father, Alan, remembers the first time Amarion revealed his interest in track – at the age of 5 at UC Berkeley watching his sister Anisa (now 12) run in a competition.
“He looked up at me and said, ‘Daddy, I could do that,’” Alan said. “So we sought out a track club and found one out our way. He’s been running since he was 5.”
While Alan and Benita serve as their son’s primary coaches, one of Amarion’s other coaches brings a sterling résumé to the table: Kenny Harrison, the triple-jump gold medalist at the 1991 World Championships and 1996 Summer Olympics.
“He saw Amarion at a football camp and was inspired and in awe of his technique,” Alan said. “We developed a friendship and relationship right there.”
Amarion’s training routine consists of different exercises totaling no more than four miles of running, four days a week. Before starting such a rigorous program, Alan and Benita told Amarion he must be even more dedicated in other walks of life.
“When he really started getting into it, we told him that he’s going to have to stay dedicated to school, which he has been,” Alan said. “He’s made the honor roll for each of the last eight quarters, and his mother and I are more proud of that than anything else.”
Amarion identifies his stronger race as the 1500 meters, citing endurance as a key to his success. While his future in track is bright, Amarion keeps things in a simple perspective.
“I like to compete and make new friends,” Amarion said. “I’m happy because I have done that.”