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Raytown South junior chasing down Olympic dreams

Zaya Akins breaking records on summer racing tour
Zaya Akins
Posted at 8:00 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 00:28:13-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Practice makes perfect right? Well at least it does when you practice almost seven days a week.

This is the case for Zaya Akins, a junior at Raytown South High School.

"It's practice Monday through Friday, sometimes Saturday and sometimes on Sunday," Akins said.

Akins is putting in the time and work as she preps for her senior year, collegiate goals and Olympic ambitions.

"If I really want it, then I'm going to have to do it," Akins said. "So I just tell myself, it's okay you got this, like one more time or just push yourself."

The junior is wasting no time getting to those goals.

Instead of a normal summer filled with off time and relaxation, Akins' time away from school is packed with preparation.

Akins won the open 100-meter and open 400-meter race at the Missouri Class 4 state track meet for the second year in a row.

Just last week, Zaya took her talents to the New Balance Nationals and finished with a 400-meter time of 52.88 seconds.

"I usually tell myself like okay Zaya, we can do this," she said.

With state and Philadelphia in the rear view mirror, Akins now goes coast to coast.

Her next stop is Eugene, Oregon.

"The facility is completely different, it has completely changed and honestly it's really really nice," Akins said. "They have a really nice facility at Oregon."

The newly renovated Hayward Field is hosting the U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Championship.

Akins will race Thursday in the open 400-meter.

"I do plan to stay consistent or improve my time," she said.

If Akins places this weekend, she'll earn a spot in Worlds, which kicks off Aug. 1.