As summer break draws to a close and many children are armed with new vacation tales, one North Texas girl is going to come back with stories of an extraordinary accomplishment.
Sixteen-year-old Alyssa Banales from McKinney will be able to share with her friends some tales from her trip to Colombia, where she competed on Team USA in the Under 20 World Championships for track and field this month.
On July 17, Banales announced the competition in a post on Instagram after sharing that she had finished third in the U.S. Track & Field U20 Championships. She is one of two long jumpers representing Team USA.
“I’m working really hard, but I’m also grateful to be here. It’s like a mixture of feelings really,” she said in an interview with CBS News.
Banales is also a member of the Major Impact track club, led by head coach Candy Francois.
Randy James, Major Impact assistant coach, expressed pride in Banales’ athletic achievements.
“She’s harnessed her athleticism in a way that’s allowed her to compete with kids 3-4-5 years older,” James said.
Despite her achievements, the 16-year-old does not think she is close to her limit.
“I still have a long way to go, but I’m gonna be down this path for a long time,” she said. “I’m excited to see where it takes me, but I’m proud to see how far I’ve gotten.”
Banales said her role models are Tara Davis and Jasmine Moore, who both did great in the world of long jumping. Davis competed in the long jump in the 2021 Olympic Games for Team USA. The 23-year-old is the American junior record holder in the indoor long jump.
Moore, a 21-year-old from Grand Prairie, competed for Team USA in the triple jump in Tokyo. She was the first American woman to qualify for the World Athletics Championships in both the long jump and the triple jump.
Her mother, Paula Banales, hopes that her daughter will not cross the line between enjoying the moment and being pressured to reach greater heights:
“All these things that are gonna happen to you in your life are great. But, if you’re not happy, what’s the point? You have to want this for yourself. And if you do, we’re all behind you.”