AAU Junior Olympics Profile: Bella-Maria Black


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Bella-marie Black is a 9-year-old sprinter who competes for the Charlotte Heat Track Club. She's the daughter of Ben and Maria Black, both former collegiate athletes, and has a brother, Benjamin, who will compete in the 13-year-old division. Blacks' arrival at the AAU Junior Olympic Games will mark her second visit to the event since 2017, when as a 7-year-old she ran in the 100m, 200m and 400m. She didn't place in any of those events then, but much has happened since. In 2018 she won AAU Club Championship titles in the 100m (14.27) and 200m (29.09), setting age group national meet records in the process. Black has surely improved tremendously in all three events -- which tends to happen when you're a developing young athlete -- and looks to be a contender in all three races. Black began track at the age of 5 and has been continually working on her talents since then. 

Who: Bella-marie Black

Age Group: 9 years old

Events: 100m, 200m, 400m

Where: AAU Junior Olympics, Greensboro, North Carolina

When: July 29-August 3

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Breakdown: Every year we see the most promising young athletes at the AAU Junior Olympic Games. And the 9-year-old Black, who is a member of the Charlotte Heat Track Club, is certainly is among them. She's coming off wins in the 100m and 200m and a runner-up finish in the 400m at the AAU National Club Championships. Her speed will definitely put her in contention for titles in the 9-year-old category, as she owns career times of 13.66 in the 100m, 27.62 in the 200m and 1:03.78 in the 400m. She enters the AAU Junior Olympics as the No. 1 ranked 9-year-old athlete in all three events. There's a possibility that Black may even break the 9-year-old meet record of 27.75 -- last achieved by high school junior and emerging phenom Tamari Davis. "She's an exceptional talent with a relentless work ethic," said William Bullard, who coaches the Charlotte Heat Track Club.

Black has been nearly unbeatable in her primary races in the 100m and 200m, and recently broke 28 seconds for the first time at clubs. But she's fast improving in the 400m, too. At Clubs Black took off two seconds from her previous best of 1:05.32, and at the AAU Junior Olympic Games, where times often drop, expect Black to contest for a title. All it takes is one good race. And in Black's case, it might be three.