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Levi Mays headed to Junior Olympics
Levi Mays
Levi Mays, 7, poses with a shot put on the track of Womack Field at Statesboro High School. Mays is nationally ranked in his age group and has qualified for the upcoming Junior Olympics. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Samose Mays had a pretty successful track career at Statesboro High. Excelling individually in the 110 and 300 hurdles, Mays also ran the anchor leg on the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams. 

Mays broke the school record in the 300 hurdles and was talented enough to earn a scholarship to Savannah State after graduating in 1995. As good as he was, he could end up being surpassed by any of the three of his children.

Mays' oldest son Michael will be a freshman this year at Statesboro High and was the district winner in the 400-meter run and broke the William James record in the 800-meter run. His youngest sons Tre and Levi recently finished as AAU All-Americans this past weekend at the AAU National Primary Championship at the University of North Florida for placing in the Top-8 in their age groups.

“I didn’t really start running track until my sophomore year of high school,” Mays said. “When we were competing in high school, we didn’t know summer track existed. We would get in shape in January and be out of shape by the summer. We were competing against many kids who ran year-round. When my kids decided they wanted to run I made sure they realized other kids are training and competing all year.”

Levi is 7 years old and was ranked in the Top-5 in the U.S. in the 8 and under shot put after a throw of 24 feet 7 inches and won the gold medal in the super regional championship  in Northeast Columbia, S.C. Levi also qualified for the Junior Olympics in the turbo javelin and competes in the long jump as well.

“My 5-year-old Tre is my shot put and javelin thrower,” Mays said. “We were out training with Tre and Levi decided to try and threw the shot put over 18 feet. I told him how good that was and that he needed to throw at the next meet we entered. He threw 17 feet in his first competition, and then threw 18 feet 2 inches in his next one and then at region he threw 24 feet 7 inches.”

Levi started his young career on the track where was running the 200 and 400. Mays says his recent success in throwing is a byproduct of him playing baseball.

“Levi is a great baseball player and I think that is part of the reason he has success in the shot put and javelin,” Mays said. “He also has great determination. When we went to the super regionals, he was going up against a kid who had beaten him the last time he threw and he had told me he wanted to beat him this time. I expected him to do well, but to throw it over six feet farther than the last time surprised me.”

Levi said he doesn’t set a particular time or distance when he competes, but does admit to being very competitive.

“When I am out there and I see someone who has beaten me before I just get focused to beat them,” Mays said. “In the last meet the boy beat me in the long jump so I wanted to make sure I beat him in the shot put. I saw my older brother running track and I wanted to do it too. It’s a lot of fun and like getting medals and going up against other kids.”

Next up for Levi are competitions in the shot put and the turbo javelin at the upcoming Junior Olympics which will be held July 27 – August 3 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C.

Levi Mays
Levi Mays - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff