LAST week’s National Schools Championships (Nationals) was a time for many young athletes to be in the spotlight. However with so many athletes and so little time, there was hardly ever enough of a chance to give all the athletes the kind of coverage they deserve.No other group felt the squeeze of this situation than the athletes of the younger age groups at the event. Though they do just as much as their older counterparts, year after year we find that those of the younger, Under-12 and below categories do not get the recognition they deserve.District 13’s Jeremiah Lynch wins the Boys’ Under-12 100mAdessa Albert, Somaiya Orna, Jeremiah Leitch, Aleka Persaud, Okeziah Mingo, Matrim Martin, and Jair Samuels were a few athletes who excelled throughout the week at the track & field competition at Nationals.They pushed above and beyond their limits, they faced adversity yet persevered; they competed fiercely and tore down records and at times even more than the older categories. They entertained, as the crowd roared at the sight of the little ones giving it there all on the track.Though still in its planning stage, the splitting of the National Schools Championships into the primary and secondary school competitions will be a welcome chance to give these younger athletes a chance to have their own moment to shine and be in the spotlight.The Girls’ Under-10 champion Albert was the most consistent contender in her category, with three gold medals and a silver, not to mention setting two records along the way. Anyone who saw Albert perform agreed that this was one young lady with a bright future ahead of her.Many remember Albert from 2015 when she first participated at Nationals and blew many away with her performance in the Girls’ Under-8 category, also becoming the age group champion back then.Albert’s 4.03m was a record jump in the long jump, while she set the 100m record at 13.70s, which she ran in the heats.However, she was not able to take over District 4’s Marissa Thomas in the 400m. Thomas was another standout. Prior to racing to the 1:10.23s win in the 400m on Friday, she also won in the 800m with a time of 2:48.81s.Another sprinter, Orna etched her name in the record books, in the Girls’ Under-8 150m, setting the record at 23.08 seconds. She won the 80m in 12.44 seconds.Then there was District 12’s Jeremiah Leitch, whose speed for his size left many in awe of his sprint performance. The shortest among the Boys’ Under-12 lineup, Leitch was considered an underdog, but he stunned the crowd as he towered over his competitors to take the gold in the Boys’ Under-12 100m.He was unable to replicate the feat in either the 200m or 400m, where he finished fourth and third respectively. Nonetheless he was already a crowd favourite and left a lasting impression on those who witnessed his 100m triumph.West Coast Berbice (District 5) Jair Samuels during his winning run in the Boys’ Under-10 400m. (Delano Williams photo)Known for her well established achievements in the pool, Aleka Persaud proved that she could handle herself just as well on the track, claiming the Girls’ Under-12 1000m in a record-breaking 3:36.17s, on the first day of competition at the Championships.She took ten seconds off District 9’s Marisa Refino’s 3:27.4s record.Persaud achieved one of only two records broken on the opening day, the other record fell in the Boys’ Under-12 1200m thanks to District 9’s Matrim Martin, who lowered the time to 3:52.36s erasing a ten-year-old record by Shaqueil Marshall.Martin also left the Championships with the long jump win, clearing 4.52m for the gold.District 5’s Jair Samuels took a 200m/400m sprint double in the Boys’ Under-10.