Running from Modeste to Nationals
Growing up in the small community of Modeste, 16-year-old Maerys Joseph never had much to do. So naturally with the open space around her, she would just run. As she got older she realized she actually liked running around. By the time she got into the seventh grade, she was ready to take her hobby and try and turn it into a career.
This summer, Joseph was able to leave from running around Modeste and go compete at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships in Humble, Texas with the Future Track Club coached by Trent Ellis.
Joseph didn’t win, but she got an experience of a lifetime.
“Coming from a small town people don’t expect you to have so much determination or would expect you to do as well as the athletes from the big cities,” Joseph said, a junior at Ascension Catholic.
When Joseph went to Nationals she noticed there large teams stood out the most, she said it was good to be part of “a small town team and make it stand out.”
This summer’s season Joseph won medals in the 400-meter and 800-meter races, including setting a personal record in the 400-meter with a time of 58.14.
Not every athlete was eligible to run at nationals, they had to qualify. At the district meet Joseph won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:23.49, she ran the 400-meter dash in a time of 59.50. However at Regionals, Joseph finished seventh in the 400-meters which prevented her from advancing to nationals. But in the 800-meters she finished third with a time of 2:25, which ranked her 24th in the nation.
At nationals, she finished 29th overall.
“I tried my best but it wasn’t good enough,” Joseph said.
Joseph said she enjoys the 800-meter run better than the 400-meters because it’s more of her pace, “not too fast, and it’s not too slow.”
Ellis said Joseph has always been one of those athletes who naturally carry the “it factor.”
“She is a kid that has that it factor and she wants to be excellent,” Ellis said. “I expect nothing but excellence from all of my athletes but to have one who expects excellence of his or herself is special and it makes my job a lot easier.”
Ellis said Joseph has given her best since day, and it’s because she wants to go further in her career with it.
On Monday, Joseph’s excellence on the track fortuned her with a salute from Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan who presented her with a key to the City of Donaldsonville.
Mayor Sullivan said Joseph’s success is good not just for the City of Donaldsonville but “for our community as a whole.”
“To have a young lady that has stepped forward in performing on the highest level for her age group is awesome, “ Mayor Sullivan said. “I think the best is yet to come and on behalf of the City of Donaldsonville we encourage and salute her and we are very proud of her and we know that with God all things are possible, so if you just keep him first you will go a long way.”
With the support, recognition and awards, Joseph knows how important it is to not forget where she has come from.
“You can never forget where you come from no matter how successful you become you have to remember where you started to get where you want to be,” Joseph said.
“It’s a great honor to be presented with a key to the city and to know that I have a lot of supporters and people looking for me to go high in my career in track and field and know that I will keep working. I thank everyone for supporting me and wishing me luck,” Joseph said. “I will make everybody proud.”