Track star makes Junior Olympics

Middle-schooler competes at high school level

Fourteen-year-old Baldwinite Jahzara Emeli made it to Humble, Texas, for Junior Olympics, but because of hamstring strain was unable to compete.
Fourteen-year-old Baldwinite Jahzara Emeli made it to Humble, Texas, for Junior Olympics, but because of hamstring strain was unable to compete.
Courtesy Stephen Emeli

Fourteen-year-old Baldwinite Jahzara Emeli recently made it to Humble, Texas, for the Junior Olympic Games in track, but because of a hamstring strain, she was unable to compete. Now in physical therapy, Emeli reflected on her outstanding track career and her future plans.

Running for the Baldwin Police Athletic League for three years, Emeli won every race except one, starting her career as a track superstar. She was then exclusively scouted in 2017 by the V-Tesse Track Club of Long Island, a non-profit that aims “to expose athletes to top level competition, provide youngsters with an opportunity to improve their performance in track and field,” along with teammates Sariah Doresca and Jillian Rickford in 2020.

The team made news in March this year when Doresca came in fourth overall in the nation at the Adidas Indoor Nationals in Virginia Beach in the 60-meter with a time of 8.12 seconds. Emeli came in fifth place overall in the 200-meter with a time of 26.43 seconds.

Other team members Rickford and Anayah Henry propelled the squad into second place in the nation for a middle school 4x200-meter relay, with a time of 1 minute, 46 seconds. Only beginning to break records, the team finished out the day in Virginia Beach by breaking the 13-to-14 USA Track and Field Long Island record time, with a faster time than any other high school relay team on Long Island.

Together, the team started the rigorous process of trying out for the Baldwin High School track team as middle schoolers. This included physicals, medical exams and Athletic Director Ed Ramírez’s OK. The team completed all requirements and was able to join, only for their season to be cut short by the initial outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020.

Running for the high school earlier in the year, Emeli said she “won every single 200 and 400 race, except twice coming in second to seniors.” She also won all four 4x100 relays to practice for division, sectional and county competitions.

Once at division, Emeli won every 200, 400 and 4x100, before heading to sectionals, where she also won. Then a week before counties, she sustained a hamstring injury and was unable to compete that day.

Still, Emeli went to Humble, Texas to the Junior Olympic Games to compete. In Humble, she began to run, but that familiar feeling of pain was present, and she was unable to compete, returning home to Baldwin for physical therapy. Emeli did not get the gold, but still received numerous accolades from Baldwin Middle School.

Being the first middle-schooler ever to be named the Track and Field MVP for the 2020-21 year and receiving the President’s Award For Educational Excellence, she said her goal is to earn a track scholarship.

Emeli and her family continue to support the community with their business Emeli Business Consulting, which offers an array of services, from business consultation, legal services, community outreach, money saving programs and many others, as well as with their co-owned frozen yogurt establishment Swirl Bliss.