Valdosta Mayor honors local athletes headed to 2019 National AAU Junior Olympics

At the July 11 City Council Meeting, Valdosta Mayor John Gayle honored five local athletes who recently qualified for the 2019 National AAU Junior Olympics.

 Athletes that qualified are Erin Howard (1500 meter run), Kendall Johnson (400 & 800-meter run), Essence Menefee (100-Meter Hurdles), Nicholas Booker (100 & 200-meter run & Long Jump),  Xavier Stokes (400 800 meter run).

Mayor Gayle presented Howard, Johnson, Menefee, Booker, and Stokes each with a commemorative coin.

The five athletes are part of the HYPE Sports Track and Field Program. H.Y.P.E. is a grassroots non-profit organization that was established in 2011, in Valdosta, GA. The group's mission is to promote the well-being of young lives with the objective to enlighten youth and enrich their character. The organization offers instruction on arts, sports, mentoring, education, and entrepreneurial leadership.

 HYPE Sports track and field program made history in 2014, by becoming the first track & field program from Valdosta to qualify for and attend the National AAU Junior Olympics. The group is proud to say that they have done it again.

 HYPE Blazers Track & Field team will attend the 2019 National AAU Junior Olympics On July 27 – August 4 in Greensboro, NC.