The 16 Best Sprint & Hurdle Talents Headed To AAU This Week

IndexMakeriah Harris-Sanaa Hebron-Mario Paul-Kayleigh Stargell-Erriyon Knighton-Bryce McCray-Chanice Spicer-David Foster-Tamaal Myers-Aaliyah Butler-Alexander Nunley-Autumn Wilson-Udodi Onwuzurike-Lucheyona Weaver-Robert Gregory-Talitha Diggs

7. Aaliyah Butler

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Piper High School/Empire Athletics, FL

Class of 2022, Girls 17-18 100m -- 200m, 400m

Gary Evans-led athletes are always ready. That much is true. 

The Empire Athletics Youth Track Club coach -- and professional coach for a selection of adidas athletes -- always brings a small continent of athletes to AAU Junior Olympic Games, and considering Butler isn't far off in South Florida, this event provided a good opportunity to get back on the track. The Piper High School rising junior is entered in the 100m and 200m.

What can we expect from the blue-chip athlete? 

If Butler's performance from the Louie Bing Invitational isn't too much a distance memory, expect somethign close to that. Butler dominated at the meet with a winning time of 24.06. That still currently stands as the 11th-best time in the country right now.  

Shortly thereafter, COVID-19 happened. 

Butler hasn't able to get back on the track for her premier distance, the 400m, since then. But in recent weeks she has begun to work on her speed mechanics in the 100m and is slowly building back up.

Evans is probably thinking long-term: The faster Butler becomes in the 100m, the better she'll ultimately be in the 400m. 

This past weekend, she went 12.13 in the 100m, a career best, at a local meet. She followed with a 200m time of 24.73. Butler has never quite focused on the short sprints throughout her career, so these times might not be overly impressive now -- but don't be skewed by the results; sometimes the payoff comes much later. 

- Cory