Track phenom Khalifa St. Fort is Rio-bound.READ MORE: Amber Alert Issued for 9-Year-Old Aniya Arcia
The teenager qualified for the Aug. 5-21 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro at the June 24-26 Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
St. Fort, 18, who gave up her St. Thomas Aquinas High School and college eligibility to compete professionally, will follow in the footsteps of her coach, two-time Olympian Ato Boldon and represent the tiny Caribbean island.
St. Fort, coming off a hamstring injury, finished fourth in the 100-meter dash in a lifetime-best and junior national record in 11.16. Her previous best was 11.19 that earned her a silver medal at the 2015 IAAF World Youth Championships last year.
St. Fort only started competing internationally last year.
St. Fort is now ranked second in the world for under-20 behind American Candace Hill (11.09).
St. Fort will be part of the 4×100-meter relay which is favored to medal in Rio which would be her country’s first Olympic medal ever in women’s track and field. She may still have a shot to make it individually in the 100. The top two finishers are guaranteed a spot but the third selection is made by the nation’s federation.
In Sunday’s 200 meters, St. Fort qualified for finals after finishing third in her heat in 23.62 and scratched from the final.
Before Rio, St. Fort and her Born 2 Do It teammate Sarah Wollaston, a junior at Somerset Academy, will compete in the July 19-24 IAAF World Under-20 championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Fort is expected to compete in the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay. Wollaston is the leadoff runner on the relay.
The duo will be joined at worlds by Jamaican Damion Thomas of Northeast, a rising senior who qualified in the 110-meter hurdles at the Jamaican Junior Trials in Kingston.
Thomas was recently named the Gatorade Boys State Track and Field Athlete of the Year. The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder won state, Florida Golden South and Jamaican junior national titles over two months.
At the June 24-26 USATF Junior Outdoor Track and Field National Championships at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Clovis, Calif., four Dade track athletes competed. Symone Mason of South Dade Express TC and Southridge was fourth in the 200 in 23.85. She was fifth in her heat in 23.80. Shaniya Williams, also of South Dade Express was 13th in 24.48 after going 24.13 in her heat.READ MORE: Pedestrian Killed While Crossing I-75
Mason was third in her 400 heat in 54.16 and finished tenth overall in 53.52.
Kayla Johnson of South Dade Express won her heat in 53.65 and qualified for finals only to be disqualified for a lane violation. Brittny Ellis of Miami was third in her heat in 54.30 and finished 11th overall in 54.47. In the 800, Kayla Johnson of South Dade was sixth in her heat in 2:16.15 and fourth among 17-18s.
On the opening day of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Kathleen Golding, 15, of Cooper City High School, one of the youngest swimmers at Trials, finished the 400-meter individual medley in 4:56.96 for sixth place in her heat. Golding will swim the 200 IM on Tuesday.
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” Golding said. “Just being here is great. I am here to have fun and see all these great people race and see how it’s done so hopefully next time I can try and make the team. This is the nicest pool I ever swam at. It’s amazing.”
Jessica Nava, 16, of Westminster Academy who trains at Pine Crest Swimming, was fifth in her 100-meter butterfly heat in 1:00.78.
“I was a lot tighter than I usually am at the end,” Nava said. “I felt pretty good. This is an amazing pool. I was excited to swim. I was really nervous before but as soon as I stepped out and saw everyone I got really excited.”
Gulliver Prep’s Miguel Cancel, 16, swam a career-best time in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:26.65.
“This was a great experience,” Cancel said. “I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I wanted to enjoy it, this was a dream come true. I never imagined myself being here at this age.”
Reagan alum and Duke swimmer Isabella Paez of Venezuela broke the national record in the 100-meter butterfly in 59.37 at the Bahamas National Swimming Championships in Nassau. She was just off the Olympic qualifying time of 58.74 but will get another shot at making her cut at the June 29-July 2 Caribbean Islands Championships, also in the Bahamas.
Westminster Academy’s Johanna Holloway, 15, who trains with the Fort Lauderdale Diving Team, and her synchro partner Mya Kraeger finished fifth on platform synchro at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Indianapolis. It was her finals debut at the nationally-televised Trials.MORE NEWS: Goodwill Ambassador Volunteers Get Specialized Training Ahead Of Miami Beach's Busy Holiday Weekend