MIAMI GARDENS — Ten-year-old Teoana “Tee Tee” Banton, just in her second year of running, brought home gold and silver medals from the Junior Olympics held in De Moines, Iowa, July 24-Aug. 3.
Teoana competed with nearly 70 hopefuls, coming in first in the 200-meter dash. She placed second in the 100-meter dash, a 10th of a second behind the winner, in a race so close officials had to resort to a “photo finish” call.
“I believe the race was too close to call. It looked like a tie to me,” assistant coach Elvis Morris said.
Added coach Franklin Allen, “We are extremely proud of our little ‘Tee Tee.’ She prepares and performs like a pro. She is a real Miami national champion. Miami has without a doubt given birth to the next Florence Griffith Joyner.’’
Teoana, who was born in Miami, lives with her single mother Michelle Easy in Miramar but attends Crestview Elementary School in Miami Gardens.
She joined Ultimate Track Club in November 2012 after discovering her talent for racing by beating out older children in her community’s park.
She competed in the Junior Olympics in 2013, winning the silver medal in the 100-meter race and placed fourth in the 200-meter race.
Competing in Des Moines meant more than just running. Teoana and Easy made a public appeal for donations to raise the $3,000 they needed for clothing and other expenses for the nine-day trip. They fell short of their goal despite three weeks of fundraising but still managed to make the 24-hopur van ride with 10 other children from the Miami area who qualified for the Jr. Olympics.
“It’s just been me and my mom, doing cake sales and a fish fry to help raise the funds for me to go to Iowa to compete in the Junior Olympics,” Teoana said.
Easy is looking for potential sponsors for Teoana. For more information, call Tandy Weems at 786-768-6751 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.