BALTIMORE — One of the fastest 14-year-old’s in the country is from East Baltimore.
Paige Jackson is about to get a chance to prove it as she prepares to head to Texas for the Junior Olympics.
Jackson is relatively new to running as she just took up the sport four years ago.
“I used to play lacrosse and my coach used to tell me I was too fast,” Jackson said.
She traded in the lacrosse stick for the track, and hasn’t looked back at anything but her opponents since.
The asphalt gets hot quick on race days.
At just 14 years old, she’s learned how to stay cool in the biggest moments.
“I keep my mind clear because some stuff gets to my head really quick and I doubt myself,” Jackson said. “I just try to keep my head clear of all the negativity.”
She qualified for the Junior Olympics by placing first in the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes for her region.
She’s got more than just the wind at her back.
Her coaches and family have been helping her raise funds for the trip.
Her mom, Ashley Williams, posted about their pop up concession stands and car washes and more than 1,000 people shared it on Facebook.
“I want to thank each and every one of you that donated and supported us,” said Williams. “We’re still doing it. I have a business actually it’s called Concession Stand Ash. What I was doing was a special to book me to raise money for Paige to go to the Jr. Olympics.”
Jackson looks up to Sha’Carri Richardson and is bummed she won’t competing in Tokyo
“She said she lost a lot of races and she was sick of tired of it so she kept pushing herself to win.”
Her mom sees that same fire in Paige.
“All Paige's life, from birth until 14, people always told her she couldn’t do something,” Williams said. “When she started to run track it was like she had a point to prove. Basically it wasn’t her proving a point to others it was her proving a point to herself.”
One of her coaches, John Peterson, said her heart is what makes her a champion.
“She listens really well, she’s really dedicated with her craft,” said Peterson. “Every time she runs she puts forth her best effort. Even when someone is next to her. If someone is next to her you know she’s going to beat them.”
She’s ready, she’s set and soon she will go to her toughest test yet.
“I’m going to win,” Jackson said. “I’m going to be hyped because I got so many people supporting me and stuff so I have to.”
Paige heads to Texas next week, and, if you want to help her on her way, her mom says to reach out to her on Facebook.