The five fastest kids in the country were in Miami last week as they get ready to make history on track.
Led by five-time Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin, this team of speedy superstars is gearing up for a big race overseas by training in the 305.
“I wanted to bring them to Florida to be able to experience the quality of work we have here and the training and getting them ready for competition that we have set up on May 14 in Jamaica,” said Gatlin. “So, the preparation right now is critical for us, but it’s fun at the same time.”
And Team Pressure is already applying it.
Better known as “Honeybadger,” “Blaze,” “2k,” “Jizzle,” and “Big O” on social media, this 4x1 relay team will become the first youth track team from the United States to compete in an international competition against America’s biggest rival on the track.
They will cross the border to Canada to compete later in the summer.
“It means everything. I’ve never been to Jamaica,” said runner Dashaun “Honeybadger” Morris II. “It’s going to be a great experience down there to meet some people that live down there, make some friends down there, and see what the culture is like. Just being able to run out there, it’s a great journey.”
“To know it’s not a job to them, but a lifestyle and a way – these are special kids,” added Gatlin. “They hold each other accountable; they love working hard with one another and I think that we can have a lot of success together.”
While in South Florida, the group got VIP treatment. Team Pressure spent time training like the pros at House of Athlete, while making an appearance on the popular podcast “I Am Athlete" with former NFL stars Chad Ochocinco, Brandon Marshall, and local sports writer Omar Kelly.
They were even lucky enough to meet a few guys in town for training, like Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette.
“We’ve put a lot of work into this team, and I’m just ready to compete and have fun. That’s what it’s all about,” said Morris.
“I want them to understand that now at an early age so they can take the time to get ready for that moment,” said Gatlin. “They can build a career and a path for themselves and show what they’re worth is to the world.”
However, the trip wasn’t all about running. Gatlin and the guys also took time to make a pit stop at Miami Northwestern High School, a school with a rich history of racking up the medals of their own. The goal: to inspire others to always go for gold.
“[It was] amazing for him to come out and choose Miami Northwestern Senior High to come out and speak to the track kids,” said head track and field coach Carmen Jackson. “Great inspiration, great speech that he gave to the kids.”
“Just believe in yourself,” added hurdles runner Paris Baker on what she took away from the conversation. “Win, lose or draw, believe in yourself and believe in all your dreams, because anything can happen. Your dreams might be closer than you think.”
Team Pressure’s journey to Jamaica is being filmed. The project “Protect the Crown” has been following the guys since the beginning. The team will wrap up competition back here in the states at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in August.