CHESTER, Va. (WWBT) - In the hallways of Salem Church Middle School on Tuesday and Thursday nights, you’ll find the Legion of Zoom Track Club holding its winter practice. Athletes ages 4-18 fill the hallways and the cafeteria, putting work in to better themselves and to prepare for upcoming meets.
Often ahead of the pack is 9 year old Alaiyah Choice. She does a lot of things just like a typical third grader, like going over to friends’ houses, getting ice cream and playing with slime, but when it comes to track and field, Alaiyah is anything but normal.
The young Choice got her start in the sport at age 6, working out with her mother, Christina, who was a basketball player at Virginia State. Alaiyah enjoyed “running, doing workouts, and sit-ups and push-ups and planks.”
She quickly fell in love with the sport, and has grown into one of the best in the country when it comes to her age group. Last year, competing in the 200m, 400m and long jump, Alaiyah won 12 national championships. She has set personal bests of 29.63 seconds in the 200m, 1:07 in the 400m, and 13′2″ in the long jump. Her ability speaks volumes, but to her coaches, it’s her character that speaks the loudest.
“She wants to be in group one, she wants to run against the older kids, the bigger kids,” smiled Legion of Zoom head coach Bernard Comer. “Her attitude, that’s what makes her different than most kids that I see.”
“It’s very fun,” the young star added. “It’s calming, it’s exciting, and very emotional.”
The staff of Legion of Zoom also finds that she makes a good example for the other athletes.
“When I preach to the kids, I see Alaiyah working, I point to her and say ‘this is what you want to be like, this is what you want to do. This is what makes her great,'” noted Comer.
Alaiyah has big goals. She may be dominating her events now, but she has her sights set on even faster times and bigger heights.
“I want to be in the Summer Olympics in 2028,” she stated, adding that she’d like to compete at that level in all three of her events.
“For me to say it’s a ceiling is to short her,” Comer added. “Her ceiling is whatever she believes and whatever she wants, aspires to be. That’s her ceiling.”
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