Annika Wharton’s speed on the soccer field was so impressive that when her soccer coach — her father, Aaron Wharton — told her about a notice he saw in The Tribune for the All Comers Track Meet this past July in Atascadero, Annika decided to give it a try.
“I was kind of worried I would be going against the really fast runners,” Annika recalled. “I was a little nervous because I didn’t know how fast the other runners would be. But as it happened, I got second place” in a field of nine runners in the first 100-meter dash she entered.
The All Comers Track Meet is held Wednesdays in July, and runners from throughout San Luis Obispo County participate.
Annika’s competition was in the 10-12 age group. She also came in second in her second heat and came in third on her third heat in Atascadero.
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But in her third race, even though she was nervous because she knew she was going up against the fastest girls in her age group — who run for the Orcutt Track Club — she put up her best time, 14.31 seconds.
As she enters seventh grade at Santa Lucia Middle School this week, Annika will be part of the Cambria Youth Athletic Association fall soccer league.
Will she go out for cross country when she gets to Coast Union in three years?
“I don’t really like distance that much,” she said. “I just know I like to go really fast for short distances.”
Aaron Wharton explained that his daughter is very relaxed at the meets “and having fun with her friends” right up until it’s time to race.
“But then she says, ‘Don’t talk to me, I need to run.’ ”