8-year old Havelock native places seventh

ZyKing Patillo is just getting started on his track and field journey, and he’s already amongst the best in the nation.

The eight-year old Havelock native, in just his second year throwing the javelin, came in seventh place in the event at last month’s National Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif.

“I give the glory to God. I prayed and Jesus gave me the grace to do it right and compete. I went out there and did my best,” said Patillo, a third-grader at Roger Bell Elementary School.

Patillo, competing with his club squad, the Havelock Heat, was one of 16 members from that team to qualify for nationals.

And when he got to California, he shined.

Patillo had a throw of 80-feet, 1 inch in the javelin throw in the eight-and-under division.

“I think I did good because I got through it and kept going up. I was seventh out of 56,” Patillo said.

Patillo qualified for junior nationals in the javelin and the long jump. He placed 23rd in the long jump.

He finished first in both events at the Region III championships in Landover, Md., allowing him to advance to the National Junior Olympic Championships.

“ZyKing has been consistent all year. He’s been one of my top athletes, not just for his age group, but for his club,” said Lederrick Hunter, coach of the Havelock Heat. “Everything he did that we’ve been teaching him all year, he just applied.

For him to go out and do what he did, it wasn’t a surprise to any of us.”

At the regional competition, Patillo beat the best in his age group from Washington, D.C., Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. He had to place in the top five to qualify for nationals, but instead, he won his events.

Patillo continued his success onto the national stage.

“It’s a huge accomplishment. Not everyone gets to go to the junior Olympics,” Hunter said. “For him to go there and became an All-American, that’s phenomenal.

“It shows you the work ethic of what he has and what he will be in the future.”

Patillo has since turned his attention to football where he plays just about anywhere on the field.

 

Adam Thompson is the sports editor at the Sun Journal. He can be contacted at 252-635-5669. Follow Adam on Twitter @A_ThompsonNBSJ