PALMDALE – Friends and family members are calling on the Antelope Valley community to help support Saheed Free, a year-round student athlete who achieved his goal of making it to the USATF National Junior Olympics in Sacramento.
The 14-year-old Palmdale native worked hard during track season and even harder during postseason to drop his 100-meter time to 11.60, which won him first place in the USATF Southern California Association Junior Olympic Championships in June for the 13-14 age group. Saheed then came in second in the USATF Region 15 Junior Olympic Championships in Las Vegas, which qualified him for the National Junior Olympics — slated for July 22-28. This is his first time qualifying.
“Making it to the National Junior Olympics has showed [Saheed] that working hard and putting in effort weekly, even on days when the weather was extremely cold and hot, pays off,” according to his mother, Rasheeda Free. “Saheed’s father and I are extremely proud of him and want to encourage him to always pray, stay positive and give 100%.”
Saheed comes from a family of five, and the competition requires a full week of travel, food and lodging, which will put a strain on the family’s budget. They’re hoping to raise funds from well-wishers in the Antelope Valley community to help offset the cost of travel.
To donate online, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/national-junior-olympic-track-ampfield-championship.
Saheed started running track at age 8 because he wanted to get faster at football, his mother said. Saheed has ran with the SoCal Supersonics Track Club since 2014, and his postseason track club is Valley United. He graduated from David G. Millen Middle School this year and will be attending Highland High School in the fall, where he will be on the football and track teams.
“Saheed is an exceptional student athlete that gives 100% in everything he does. Saheed stays motivated and determined to get good grades so he can get a full scholarship to a university to play football and run track,” Rasheeda Free said.
“I would like to add that Saheed is on this journey with his best friend, Brandon Johnson. They are on the 4×100 relay team, which was ranked second in the Las Vegas regional championship. These two kids encourage and motivate each other on and off the field. Look out for them on the Highland football and track team for the 2019-2020 season,” Rasheeda Free added.
The Free family must reach their fundraising goal as soon as possible because the National Junior Olympics trip starts Monday, July 22. To donate now, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/national-junior-olympic-track-ampfield-championship.