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Herrmann advances in Junior Olympics
Third trip to nationals ultimate goal
The Gazette, staff

Maggie Herrmann stumbled on a love for track and field through the inspiration of coach Shelley Sparks, her track coach at D’Arbonne Woods Charter School, who instilled in her a desire for self-improvement. 

At a Developmental Meet two years ago, the 15-year-old met members of the local Peak Performance Track Club from Monroe who invited her to join and compete through the summer months.  Since that time, Herrmann has been a member of the Top Gun Track Club and now the Ultimate Performance Track Club. 
2012 was her first 2012 summer in the Junior Olympics, and it proved to be a test of fortitude. A hamstring injury kept her from advancing in her favored event, high jump. But she did advance in the triple jump to the final national Junior Olympic track meet in North Carolina.    
Another injury in January 2013 led to rehab through the typically the training season of spring.  However, Herrmann’s determination still qualified her for the Junior Olympic nationals in Baltimore, placing her among the top 50 athletes in the country in her discipline. 
This year, Herrmann has matured into an athlete that sets goals and works a daily regime of self-discipline and training to continue her improvement. Her goal for 2014 was to clear five feet in the high jump, which has been a developmental process. Throughout the track season and in the Louisiana State Games, she maintained consistent results of 4’11”, which garnered her first place honors and the overall Girls Sportsmanship Award for attitude and encouragement of other athletes. But the elusive five-foot mark still remained a goal. In the Peak Performance meet June 8, Herrmann finally broke the five-foot mark in competition and achieved her goal for her personal best in high jump. She also placed in the triple jump and javelin, helping her win overall top girls scorer in her age group from this meet.
The first round of the Junior Olympic trials took place June 20-21 in McComb, Ms., for the Ark-La-Miss states.  Athletes must score in the top four to advance to the second round.  Herrmann once again reached her personal best in competition, clearing five feet in high jump, giving her second place). She also finished second in triple jump, going 31.10 feet and secured fourth place in javelin. Her efforts helped her advance to the second round of Junior Olympic competition in three of her four events.
She realizes her goal of clearing five feet in the high jump is just the beginning. For Herrmann and the other athletes involved in the Junior Olympics, the goal is always improving your “PR,” or your personal record.  In other words, athletes seek to be their best and challenge themselves to constantly improve. For Herrmann, her improvement has met with injury, perseverance, and years of hard work.  
Olympic gold medalist Dan Gable once said, “Gold medals aren’t really made of gold.  They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard to find alloy called guts.”   
Herrmann will test her guts as she advances to Round Two of the Junior Olympic Trials July 10-13 at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.  If she advances there, the Nationals will be held July 21-22 in Houston, Texas.   It is her hope – in her gut – that her PR is still yet to come. 

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