FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Three youth athletes with Fort Jackson ties are set to make their mark on a big stage as they prepare to compete in national meets.

D’Andre Harley and DeQuan Guyton, both 14, will compete in the 4x100 meter relay at the National Junior Olympics July 26-31 in Wichita, Kan. Christopher Logsdon, 14, and Harley will participate in the Hershey Track and Field Games Aug. 4-7 in Hershey, Pa. Logsdon will compete in the softball throw contest and Harley will compete in the 200-meter dash.

“I’m excited. I know it’s going to be hard,” Harley said. “It’s not the first time I’m going to a national competition, so I’m ready.”

Harley has competed at Hershey twice in the past and placed first in his age group in the 200-meter dash in 2009. Logsdon, who has been on the Fort Jackson Child, Youth and School Services track team for three years, is new to the national stage. He said he is looking forward to meeting with other successful athletes at the meet.

“I worked hard to get there. I pushed myself and ran a lot,” Logsdon said.

He said that aside from his scheduled training, he put in some extra miles to improve his conditioning.

Guyton is a newcomer to track and field. He started running competitively in May and qualified to be on his track team’s relay squad.

“When he started all the other kids were faster. They had their technique down. It was just something to do (to get ready) for football,” said DeQuan’s mother, Vanessa Guyton, who works at the Adjutant General School. “I’m proud of him for just getting out there working really hard, competing and increasing his speed so he could even qualify to be on the relay team.”
Logsdon’s mother, Christy Townsend, said she thinks it is an honor for her son to be able to compete at that level and that she has seen steady progress in his performance since he started running track.

“He’s very determined. Once he sets his mind to something, he goes all out in it. He’s very head on,” Townsend said. “That’s why, I think, this year, he really tried to push himself.”
In addition to improving their athletic skills, track also offers the young athletes a chance to learn about work ethic, discipline and leadership, said Harley’s mother, Ruby Fletcher, who also works at the Adjutant General School.

“Because D’Andre has been running probably longer than the other kids, I try to focus on his leadership (skills),” Fletcher said. “I try to keep him positive, and then, hopefully, it’ll make the other kids around him push a little harder.”

Like DeQuan Guyton, Harley and Logsdon said they started track to get better at other sports they are playing. Harley plays football, and Logsdon plays soccer, basketball and baseball. However, they all said that they enjoy track.

“It’s fun. I look at it as fun as football sometimes,” DeQuan Guyton said.

Editor’s note: For more information about the Fort Jackson track team, call Darius Lane at 751-7451.