Track and field has a secure future in Jaiya Patillo, a 13-year-old girl from Nebraska who’s gone viral for a video showing her demolishing a collegiate track meet.
Patillo is only in the seventh grade, and her name is ringing bells worldwide for her early displays of athleticism. This year she competed in a collegiate-level track meet, and the seventh grader skyrocketed past the much older competition and finished the 400-meter race as the winner in the SDSU Last Chance meet.
Although the race happened on Feb. 19, 2022, at the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, it is starting to make its rounds on social media now. Patillo blew past the competition scoring the best time of the meet at 57.60 seconds. The next-highest time was 57.97 seconds, followed by 58.53 and a slew of competitors that came in the 59-second to the one-minute range.
“It was an open track meet that we ended up running at, and it was really crazy running with college athletes, it was a lot different than running with my age group. And you think about how it’s more competitive when you’re running against college because they’re not just running. They’re running for their scholarship or whatever it is that they’re running for, so it’s a lot more competitive,” said Jaiya to her local news station KMTV-News 3 Omaha.
Since smoking the South Dakota collegiate competition, over two million people have watched the TikTok video of her victory. She has now amassed over 100 million views and more than 10 million likes for her videos across multiple social media platforms. Additionally, media outlets worldwide have praised and featured Patillo for her speed and determination.
Not too long ago, Patillo went viral on TikTok when she was shown running 17 miles an hour on a treadmill. Patillo’s performance captured the world’s attention with fantastic stride and confidence. She is now up to 18.5 miles an hour on the treadmill, and the twelve-time Junior Olympian continues to look ahead to her next national competition.
Passing the baton. This #BlackHERstory discussion on @WHURfm's #TheDailyDrum with Olympian Jackie Joyner Kersee (@JJKWILPrograms) and 12y/o viral track star Jaiya Pattillo is #BlackGirlMagic. Bravo @HFisherWHUR & @AdkinsCandice
and @CandiceAdkins for this show. #JournoLife pic.twitter.com/Tf5mdWOXBk
— Nicki Mayo (@nickimayonews) February 18, 2021
Patillo is a 200- and 400-meter sprinter who is looking to translate her success in track all the way to the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Also excelling in academics and artistic endeavors, Jaiya sells her paintings online and donates proceeds to children’s charities.
Her parents, Kevin Patillo and his wife, Lt. Col. Sheree Patillo of the Air Force, have allowed Jaiya to train at Offutt Air Force Base’s Field House, where the mother is stationed. The couple has four children, but their youngest has been tearing up the track.
“Jaiya has been running track since she was 7 years old,” said Kevin Patillo to the Dayton Daily News. “The very first time she ran competitively, she earned a medal and went straight to the nationals. She is just uber-talented.
“I noticed that Jaiya started to try to run as a baby in her walker,” Kevin said. “I knew she would be a runner all her life.”
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