Casey Neville-Lowery, 8, a student at Ashton Elementary, and 15-year old Zach Canterbury, a student at Point Pleasant High School, both qualified for the meet, which was held Aug. 1-8 at Virginia Beach, Va.
Neville-Lowery competed in the 400 meter dash and 800 meter run, while Canterbury competed in the 400 meter dash. In addition, Neville-Lowery qualified at the national level in the 4x100 relay, but was unable to participate in the event due to one of his teammates being unable to attend the meet. Both Neville-Lowery and Canterbury said that it was an honor to participate in the national meet and compete against so many runners.
“The (national) meet was huge,” Neville-Lowery said.
Canterbury agreed that the size of the national meet was quite impressive.
“There were a lot of heats,” he said.
Neville-Lowery and Canterbury described their experience at the meet as being good, and said that they both plan to continue running track. Currently, Canterbury is a member of the PPHS Track Team, where he specializes in the 400, 200, 4x200 and 4x400, with the 400 being his best event. According to Canterbury, his current personal best time is 51.7 seconds, and his goal is to improve his time by going under the 50 second barrier. As for Neville-Lowery, he plans to keep running track and one day compete on the high school team. He also said that he looks up to Canterbury and Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt.
Both athletes are members of the Capital City Strider’s track team, based in Charleston. Capital City Strider’s operates as a 501 (3) c non-profit organization, and is a member of the USA Track & Field as well as the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). To prepare for the meet Neville-Lowery and Canterbury participated in Capital City Strider’s practices as well as did other core work on their own. In addition, Canterbury worked with Chip Wood, his high school track coach, to prepare for the meet.
To qualify for the national meet, Neville-Lowery and Zach had to advance from both the state and regional meets. At the regional level, Neville-Lowery and Canterbury competed with athletes from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.