Elisabeth Auguste Takes Silver to Become All-American

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The 46th USA Track & Field (USATF) National Junior Olympic Championships were held in Baltimore, Maryland recently. Considered the most visible youth athletic development program in the world, the USATF Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships showcase American's next generation of track and field stars, many of whom who go on to become Olympic champions. 

For one Walt Whitman student, the dream of becoming an Olympian has taken a dramatic step forward. Elisabeth Auguste, competing in the 800-Meter Dash Ambulatory event for girls, placed second in the nation with a time of 2:49.32. Elisabeth, who was born with one arm, finished just one second behind the first-place winner, Rolling Thunder Track Club teammate Bridget Reiffert.

"I’ve raced against Bridget many times before and won all of those races,” said Elisabeth. “She studied my 800-meter routine and altered her style. This was the first time she has beaten me. I tried to catch her, but she is much taller with longer legs and got over the finish line 1 second faster than I did.” 

Elisabeth credits soccer teammate and friend Kensey Portman for introducing her to track, but it’s coach Rufus Shepard who pushes Elisabeth to work hard. “Coach Shepard has a positive attitude, and even though I may not have done as well as I could have, he always keeps his comments positive, and that makes me want to try harder.

“The whole experience was great," continued Elizabeth. "I got to meet so many athletes, many in wheelchairs, many with much more serious disabilities than me. And it made me think, if they can do it, why not me?"


Photo: Coach Rufus Shepard and Elisabeth Auguste