Avery Chadwick is headed to Tennessee.
The eight-year old distance runner from Fort Payne won the state championship in the 1,500 meter and was runner up in the 800 meter at the 2015 USATF Alabama Association Championships at Samford University. The USATF is a part of the Junior Olympics.
“It was really fun,” Chadwick said on getting to compete and win a state title. “There was a lot of runners there and I was a little nervous, but I had a lot of fun.”
She will now advance to the regional meet in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. If she can place in the top-five there then she will advance to the nationals in Jacksonville, Florida at the end of July.
“I hope to win regionals on July 12 in Tennessee,” Chadwick said.
And she has a great opportunity to do that.
Her winning time of 6:41.44 was just 13 seconds off the state record in the 1,500 and her training time was cut short in the weeks leading up to the state meet because of sickness.
Now that she’s back healthy she’s hoping to be able to trim 20 seconds off her time before regionals.
“It’s going to take a lot of work,” Chadwick said. “I’ve only been able to train two days a week but I’m going to start doing more and hopefully do four days a week.”
Chadwick comes from an athletic family. Her mother, Mindy Chadwick, played soccer at Jacksonville State University, and her dad is Fort Payne track coach Kenny Chadwick.
She started doing this to help her with other sports she plays, like soccer and basketball, but her dad, Kenny Chadwick, soon realized she had a natural talent for running.
“I started running in school and then my dad saw how fast I was and we decided to compete in some track meets,” Avery said. “I’ve competed in Fort Payne and Birmingham and a lot of different places. They are really fun.”
Kenny Chadwick said it was easy to see when she first started running that she was a natural.
“Really, we started doing this to help her with soccer and basketball and any other sport she wants to play,” Kenny said. “Then we saw she was just kind of a natural at running and we started looking to help her compete.”
Kenny said even though he’s the track coach for the high school team he doesn’t help her much. She spends most of her time training with the Fort Payne cross country team and also with Olivia Thurman, who was the Class 5A 2013 cross country state champion and holds just about every distance record at Fort Payne.
He also said she doesn’t need much motivation, because she loves running and loves competing.
“Avery does most of this on her own and she puts the work in and I don’t help her much,” Kenny said. “She trains with the cross-country team and Olivia Thurman helps her a lot. She really has a lot of fun with it, but she loves to win those medals and a lot of those medals are gold medals. It certainly makes for a proud dad.”
With the regional meet coming up on July 12 and her not being able to train much before the state meet she’s looking to crank up her training.
“She’s about to take it really seriously for the next two weeks,” Kenny said. “We’re really confident she can cut 20 seconds off her time especially now that she can train. We feel really good about what she can do at regionals and she actually has a good chance to win, after that we’ll wait and see.”