Jada Williams’ interest in running was galvanized in elementary school.
The Flagler Palm Coast senior, who has signed a track scholarship with the University of North Florida, returned to Rymfire Elementary School on March 1. She spoke to the fourth, fifth and sixth graders in PE teacher Robert Cerasi’s Rymfire Roadrunners Running Club, showed them her state cross country medals and even ran with them.
She was a member of the club herself seven years ago.
“It was really cool to come back and see the program still going on and Coach Cerasi still coaching kids,” Williams said.
“I love when former kids in the club come back. She got to tell her story, and how she progressed.”
ROBERT CERASI, Rymfire PE teacher
“I love when former kids in the club come back,” Cerasi said. “She got to tell her story, and how she progressed.”
Cerasi, Rymfire’s Teacher of the Year, started the club 16 years ago when the school opened. At the time, that was the only after-school sports program available to the elementary school students, he said.
He averages about 80 to 100 children participating in the eight-week program, which ends with a 5-kilometer race at the school.
Williams said she will try to come back for every other practice for the remainder of the spring and then run in or help work the 5K on April 19.
Williams finished sixth in the Class 4A state cross country championships in November. Her senior soccer season was cut short because of tendinitis in her knee, and she just started light running again.
“I haven’t been feeling any pain. I’ve been biking and doing pool workouts to stay in shape. I’m hoping to (return to practice) over spring break.”
“I haven’t been feeling any pain,” she said. “I’ve been biking and doing pool workouts to stay in shape. I’m hoping to (return to practice) over spring break.”
She is aiming to run in her first track and field competition of the season on March 26 in a meet at Bartram Trail High School.
Before joining the Rymfire Running Club as a fifth grader, Williams said she used to run in local 5K races with her family. But Ceraci’s organized practices gave her the impetus to join FPC’s cross country team as a freshman, she said.
“You could see she had the passion and the love for running,” Cerasi said. “She was so self-motivated and driven, and she was fantastic with her teammates as well, helping them get better.”
Each year, Cerasi frames a team picture and adds it to the trophy case. When Williams visited, some of the Roadrunners found her picture.
“It was cool to talk to the kids about how I used to be in their shoes, and now I’m getting ready to run in college,” Williams said. “It was really cool to see them excited about running.”