KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The fastest teenager in the Kansas City area isn’t taking a summer break from running.
Just last month, Raytown South’s Zaya Akins won the Missouri Class 4 state championships in the 100 and 400 meters for the second year in a row. Her 53.41 second 400-meter time broke a state meet record.
She’ll be using her summer to compete against some of the best teenagers in the nation starting with the New Balance Nationals this weekend.
“It’s cool,” the humble Akins said with a smile. “It’s gonna be something different because I haven’t competed against most of the people that will probably be there so it’ll be something different and challenging.”
Akins has been known around the area for a while now and she said with social media attention picking up, she’s still getting used to a little extra attention.
“I’m kind of just soaking it all in.”
“I’m used to it, but now it’s like ‘worse’ than it was back then.”
Along with the New Balance Nationals in Philly, Akins will be going to the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championship from June 24-26 and the World Athletics U-20 Championships from Aug. 1-6.
Akins’ main races have been in the 100, 200 and 400 meter, but this summer she will focus on the 400 meter dash. She knows national and older competition means she has to step her game up.
“I’m stepping into a new realm of track and field,” Akins said. “It’s no more kid and play. It’s hard work, hard work, hard work now.”