Rome High track and field athletes, Ja’Lia Evans and Ja’Taria Jackson, are preparing to make the trek to Sacramento, Cali. for the USATF Hershey National Junior
Olympic Track & Field Championships.

Both students qualified for the national championship after their performances last weekend at the Region 4 Junior Olympic Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina. 
The national championship meet will be held July 22-28 at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium, and Evans and Jackson will be competing in the first round of preliminaries on Thursday, July 25.

 Evans will run the first round of the 100 meter hurdles at 10:40 a.m. PST, while Jackson competes in the first round of the 100 meter dash at 2:10 p.m. PST. Evans will then go on to compete in the triple jump finals at 4:00 p.m. PST. 
Head Coach Nick Bridges is beyond excited for his two athletes who have been given this incredible opportunity. “These girls have been given the greatest opportunity to showcase their talents in a place that they have never even dreamed of going to. I am so proud of their accomplishments and can’t wait to celebrate with them over the next few weeks!” 

“I am just so excited to see California. I have never been before,” said Ja’Lia Evans. “This is really an amazing opportunity and I am hoping to sightsee and just do everything on my bucket list before we have to come home.” 

Ja’Taria Jackson feels the same way about the trip to California, as she has never traveled in a plane until now. 

“I have actually never been on an airplane before, so I am most excited to experience that. I am excited for the track meet too, but I try and treat every single track meet like it’s just a normal meet. I just go on the track and run my best every single time. This time is the same, just in a big
way,” smiled Jackson. 

According to Evans and Jackson, practices were more intense in preparation for the upcoming National Championship. “As soon as we got back from regionals, we have stepped up our practices from twice a week, to every single day,” explained Jackson. “We practice about an
hour every day, and then train on top of that. It is a lot, but it is so worth it.” 

The success of these two athletes is, of course, a direct result of all of their hard work. However, without the guidance of their trusted leader, Coach Bridges, they feel that none of it would be possible.

 “I am so thankful to have had the privilege of getting to know Coach Bridges,” said Evans. When I first started running track, he always made me feel like home. He is a big reason why I love the sport, so I owe a lot of my success to him.”

“I, too, want to thank Coach Bridges for his support throughout my entire high school career. He is just such an inspiration to me. He is always so positive and so supportive, no matter what. He treats us like his family, and that means a lot to me,” said Jackson.

 In preparation for the National Championships, Coach Bridges and Rome High School are hosting Spirit Days in cooperation with local restaurants to help raise money. The goal is to offset the cost of the trip for Evans and Jackson. 
Patrons who dine with these local vendors throughout the week of July 15-20th will help to send these two incredible athletes to California. A portion of the proceeds will go directly to Evans and Jackson. 

Here is the Spirit Week schedule: 
-Monday, July 15th from 12:00pm – 9:00pm at Johnny’s Pizza
-Tuesday, July 16th from 5:00pm – 10:00pm at Jimmy John’s and Sam’s Burger Deli 
-Wednesday, July 17th from 5:00pm – 10:00pm at Jefferson’s
-Thursday, July 18th from 11:00am – 4:00pm at Moe’s Original BBQ and from 5:00pm –
10:30pm at Mellow Mushroom 
-Friday, July 19th from 11:00am – 5:00pm at Brewhouse Bar and all day at Frios
-Saturday, July 20th: Applebee’s is hosting a Pancake Breakfast; Brewhouse Bar and Grill from
11:00am – 5:00pm and all day at Frios 

Please keep an eye on the RCS Facebook Page for changes to this schedule, and show up to
show support for these talented young ladies!