As action continues in Greensboro, North Carolina at the 2022 AAU Junior Olympic Games, Missouri is represented most by the state high schoolers in the 15-16 and 17-18-year-old age divisions by St. Louis area ladies. St. Louis area girls are competing at the national meet not only in great volume, but also as high seeds. Twenty-eight of the 48 Missouri entries that are top-30 seeds are St. Louis area girls.
The country is separated into different associations or districts. Missouri is split into two. The Ozark association comprises the eastern part of the state and is its own Region, Region 15. The western part of the state is joined by Kansas to create the Missouri Valley association. The Missouri Valley is joined by the Oklahoma and Arkansas districts to make up Region 16.
Athletes needed a top-6 finish in an individual or relay event or top-4 finish in the heptathlon or decathlon at the Region meets to qualify for the Junior Olympic Games. Additionally, athletes could qualify with top-8 finishes at two other meets out west in California and Nevada, or the AAU Primary Nationals and Club Championships, which was held in mid-July in Orlando. The Region 15 meet was held in late June in Rolla at Missouri University of Science and Technology.
An astonishing six of the top-16 seeds in the 17-18 100-meter hurdle seeds are St. Louis athletes. They are led by Kirkwood standout junior hurdler, sprinter, and horizontal jumper Genesis Dixon. Dixon won the best state meet 100-hurdle race ever, claiming the Class 5 title in an overall state meet record of 13.57-seconds. Dixon, of the Missouri Elite Sports Club, is the event's top seed at 13.91-seconds, a time she recorded in winning the Region 15 title. Dixon will also compete in the 400-hurdles where she is the 54th seed at 1:08.05, and the 16th seed in the long jump at 18-5.25'', which she measured with a runner-up finish at Regionals.
Kirkwood junior and Missouri Elite's Genesis Dixon will compete in the 100H, 400H, and long jump
The #3 seed in the 100-hurdles is Parkway Central super sophomore Skyye Lee of the Blues Track Club of Great St. Louis, also known as the St. Louis Blues Track Club. Lee focused on the hurdles and relays this year after previously competing in the sprints more than the hurdles. The switch paid off in a big way. Lee blistered the Licklider Track to win Class 4 state titles in the 100 and 300-hurdles in 13.84 and 43.76-seconds.
Lee's 13.84 bettered Makeatha Cooper's 13.85-second 19-year-old Class 4 state meet record, which stood as the overall meet record until 2019. Lee also ran on the Lady Colts winning 4x200 and 4x400-meter relays for coach Ryan Banta. Her performances put her atop the awards podium four times, helping Central to a final trip to the podium to claim their 1st-place team trophy. Lee is also entered in the meet as a fifth athlete on the Blues 19th-seeded 4x100 "B" relay squad.
Parkway Central sophomore Skyye Lee of the Blues Track Club of Greater St. Louis races in the 100H
The #4 seed in the 100-hurdles is Ultimate Speed Academy star and John Burroughs' sophomore Aaliyah Elliott. Elliott is the third John Burroughs School standout in her family, following in the paths of big brother Ezekiel and big sister Lailah. Ezekiel Elliott was a star hurdler, sprinter who swept the 110-hurdles, 100, 300-hurdles, and 200-meter dash as a senior in 2013. He was a star running back at Burroughs before helping Ohio State to a football national title and earning NFL rookie of the year and All-Pro honors for the Dallas Cowboys. Lailah Elliott was a standout hurdler and jumper for the Bombers, earning multiple state titles before moving to the multi-events at Ohio State.
Aaliyah looks the part of a star pentathlete and heptathlete and may follow in the footsteps of her mom Dawn at Mizzou and her sister Lailah at Ohio State in the multi-events. Or she may become such an excellent hurdler and long jumper she may choose to focus on those. Elliott placed 5th in the historic Class 5 state 100-hurdles race in 14.46. She improved to 14.17-seconds at the AAU Club Championship meet in Orlando in mid-July. She followed the state 100-hurdles finish with a state 7th-place 100-meter dash finish in a wind-aided personal best of 12.03-seconds.