Young sprinter qualifies for AAU Jr. Olympics
by Donell Maxie
Jul 05, 2012 | 2244 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tyla Rash loves to run and has been doing it for as long as she can remember.

When she was 12 she started to train with former D.M. Smith Middle School coach Carol Davis.

"Coach Davis would time her and help her with her technique. She would always insists that we let her run track," said Tyla's mother Theresa.

This year the 14 year-old Cleveland resident competed on the D.M. Smith track and field team and also ran on the East Side High School's girls track team after head coach Leroy Cotton requested that she join the team.

Sharon Cook, founder of the AAU Memphis Mustangs Track Club approached Tyla's parents and expressed interest in allowing Tyla to compete with the team. They agreed and she became a member of the track club.

Since joining the team Tyla has made her presence felt as she became a runner in the 400 meter-dash and also on the 4x100 and 4x400 meter-relays.

"When I saw Tyla I saw a great deal of potential. I know the family so I knew athleticism was there. I knew that if we could get her to run with our club we could help her improve dramatically. Since coming to us she has gotten her high school time down and she will drop that time some more," said Cook.

Cook is from Byhalia where she ran in high school. She also was a track star at Jackson State University where she graduated.

Most recently Tyla competed in a qualifying meet in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee where she qualified in those three events for the AAU Junior Olympics set for July 28-Aug. 3 in Houston, Texas. She finished third in the 400 (1:03.00), the 4x100 team came in third (52.58) and the 4x400 team won first (4:21.00). Tyla runs the anchor leg on the 4x100 and the first leg on the 4x400.

"She is a hard worker and has been that way since the first day she joined the team," said Mustangs coach Hrukti Maat. She always wants to know what she can do to be better," Matt added.

Along with Tyla, the Mustangs will have 24 other girls competing in the Jr. Olympics.

For Tyla, having the chance to compete in the AAU Jr. Olympics is something she still has not come to grips with.

"I'm so excited," she said with a big smile while sitting in her father's office. "I love to run and track is by far my favorite sport," Tyla exclaimed!

"When I first started with the Mustangs and competed in my first event I was a little scared, but after I started running I became really comfortable," said Tyla.

Tyla's love for running can be found right in the house with her as her mother and father both run.

"My parents are very supportive and both of them work with me. They time me and work with me on my form and they keep me encouraged," said Tyla.

"She has a lot of potential and is a hard worker. She has been running for a long time. We encourage our kids to always do their best in school and in everything they do. We are so proud of the work she is putting in and the success she's having on the track," said her father Terrence.

Tyla said she is grateful for all the support she has received from her family and friends.

"I am so thankful to my heavenly father for giving me this opportunity, my parents, my church St. Peter's Rock, my granddaddy Rev. Sammie Rash, my god parents, the entire Perry family and special thanks to Coach Cook, Coach Maat and the Memphis Mustangs family for allowing me to be apart of this team," said Tyla.

For any athletes interested in the Memphis Mustangs go to