TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - An 11-year-old runner from Tucson has brought home the gold, not once but twice after competing in the USA Track & Field Region 10 Junior Olympic Championships in Aurora, Colo. from July 5-8.
Taliyah Henderson brought home two gold medals, earning a time of 56.93 in the 400-meter dash and a time of 2:23.20 in the 800 meters.
"Not only did she beat [a competitor] in a super exciting final, but she broke the all-time Arizona state record [for the 400 meters] and is currently the fastest girl in the nation, faster than a lot of high school athletes," stated Danica Henderson, Taliyah's mother.
Taliyah now holds the record in Arizona for the 800 meters. Additionally, she won bronze in the 200 meters.
"It feels amazing to be the fastest girl in the nation and break the 400-meter record. I put a lot of hard work into every practice, and now it's paying off!" Taliyah said. "My coaches, especially coach Cassandra, have really helped me break down my 400 to be the best it can be."
No one is more prouder of Taliyah than her parents.
"We've tried explaining to her what an amazing achievement this is, but she is such a humble kid that it's hard for her to take it all in!" Danica stated. "Even as a baby, she never walked anywhere, she would always be running full speed anywhere she went. We hope she can continue to display the inspiring work ethic and dedication she has thus far."
Taliyah has competed in track & field for the past seven years.
"She shows up to every practice pushing her body beyond limits while being a role model for those younger than her. She is a straight-A student, and her principal has also made some very nice comments about her," Danica said.
Taliyah's 6-year-old little sister, Anniah, too competed at the event in Colorado. Anniah came in fourth and fifth in matches for girls age 8 and under.
Both sisters are part of the Arizona Titans Track Club in Tucson.
At the end of the month, Taliyah along with three junior athletes from her track club will compete at the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Championships in Greensboro, N.C.
The sporting event will be held from July 23-29 at North Carolina A&T University.