Hicks expands family lineage, qualifies for Jr. Olympic National Championships

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GREENSBORO — Aaron Hicks, the last in a long line of track athletes in his family in Wilson, made his first mark with a fourth-place finish in the Boys 8-Under 800-meter run at the USA Track and Field Region 16 Junior Olympic Championships on June 23 at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University.

Seven-year-old Aaron, running for the Wilson Recreation Department Track and Field team, finished in 3 minutes, 6.5 seconds as he came in first in the first heat.

“It was a bad luck of the draw that he was in the slow heat because he won by at least 10 meters,” said longtime Recreation Department track coach Maurice Williams. “He would have won or at least finished second if he was in the fast heat. I am so proud of him.”

Aaron’s mother and father, Sonya and Stanley Hicks Sr., were accomplished sprinters in high school and four of his siblings were track standouts, including brother Stanley, who was an All-Big South Conference sprinter at Campbell University, and sister Amber, who was a two-time North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A/2-A champion at Greenfield School.

Jasen Johnson-Lockhart of the Charlotte Panthers won with a time of 2:48.08 while Caleb Scotton of the Bull City Express was second in 3:00.86 and Jeremiah Sanders of Durham Striders was third in 3:04.95.

Williams credited Hicks’ distance coach Chris Hines for preparing him for the race.

Hicks also placed 18th out of 40 finishers in the Boys 8-U 400 run with a time of 1:24.46.

While Hicks was the only member of the Wilson Track and Field team to earn a spot in the USATF Hershey Junior Olympic Championships in July, also at Irwin Belk Track, several other team members competed in the Region 16 meet.

Also participating were Taleyah Atkinson, Zyhaira Williams, Mireici Mariche, Shimauri Williams, Kimani Harris, Messiah Lavender, McKenzie Barnes, Taniyah Atkinson, Mesha Strickland, Starkashia Anderson, Makayla Brailsford, Tanaesha Atkinson, Aliha Habana, Shimar Williams, Delarin Finch, Zechariah Griffin, Calvin Williams Jr., N’Carrius Woodard, Carter Zander, Caleb Boyette and Joseph Fuller.

“Ninety-five percent of my team are first-year runners and they did a great job,” said Williams. “I think that we would have had a few more finalists, but they were overwhelmed by the big stadium and the thousands of extra runners that they saw.”

Williams also credited assistant coaches Sonya Hicks and Zoe Hines for helping prepare the team, which finishes its season at the Russell E. Blunt East Coast Invitational in Durham in July.