Sydney Tullai on the road to Gold at the AAU Junior Olympic Games this past August 2010
Sydney Tullaiis an up and coming midget girl distance runner’s that sees no bounds to her ability or speed. In the last year I personally have seen her confidence grow and her speed take her to exciting new PR’s that has made the crowd stand to their feet in excitement. She is well received and respected by her peers and she is humble yet driven to reach even higher heights of performance. She has great support from her family and Sydney is a TrackMom “One To Watch”. Congratulations on a Stellar Season! Thanks to her dad, Jason for the details on Sydney’s accomplishments this season.
Sydney Tullai is Nation’s Fastest Midget Girl Distance Runner
When preteens head back to school, they are often asked, “How did you spend your summer vacation?” The answer usually includes hanging out at the pool, shopping and sleepovers. For Sydney Tullai, an 11-year-old girl from Chino Hills, CA, she can add a lot more to the story. This summer, over a thirty day period from early July to early August, Sydney proved to all that she is one of the top young distance runner in the nation winning five National Championships.
Her journey began in Lisle, IL over the 4th of July weekend, where she won the USA Track & Field (USATF) Youth National Championships at both the 3000 and 1500 meters in runaway fashion. Her time in the 3000 meter of 10:19.3 is the fastest time in the nation for both 11-year-old (Sub-Midgets) and 12-year-old (Midget) girls.
In late July, she ran in Sacramento, CA in the USATF Junior Olympic National Championships. Taking on some of the same and other top runners from across the nation, Sydney again won two more National Championships at both the 3000 and 1500 meters. Sydney used her trademark kick over the last 400 – 600 meters to outdistance all of the competition.
After the 1500 meter on Sunday, Sydney got on a plane and flew coast to coast in order to get to Norfolk, VA so she could compete in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic National Championships the next morning. Over the next three days, Sydney easily won another National Championship in the 3000 meters, and took second in the 1500 and 800 meters.
Sydney’s runs with arguably the premiere youth distance running club in the nation, the Equalizers, who train at various locations in Tustin, Orange County, CA. Over the past two years, the Equalizers have placed more cross country teams in the top three places compared to all of the youth running programs in the nation. Sydney’s track and cross country coach from the Equalizers, Jerry Palazzo said of Sydney, “”She has a very special combination of talent and poise, along with the other magic ingredients that an athlete must possess, a strong work ethic and coachability.”
Last December, Sydney Tullai also led the Equalizer Bantam Girls to the USATF Cross Country National Championship despite running in 3″ of snow, freezing temperatures and falling twice over the 3000 meter course in Reno, NV. In February, Sydney won three AAU Indoor National Championships at 3000, 1500 and 800 meters setting two national indoor records while competing in Bloomington, IL. At the Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation (SCMAF) Championships in June, Sydney won the 800 and 400 meters and set the all-time SCMAF record at 800 meters for the second year in a row. She also was the California State Champion at 3000 and 1500 meters and runner-up at 800 meters competing in the Midget Division at the California State Games in July.
To put her times and ability in perspective, when this 11-year-old stepped off the track at Cerritos College after winning the 3000 meter at the USATF SOCAL Association track meet in June, her time of 10:23 was faster than the Cerritos College women’s record and her prospective high school’s girl’s record for that distance.
Sydney attributes her breakthrough performances this past track season to the consistent training and coaching that she has received since joining the Equalizers. “Many of my best friends run with the Equalizers and there are always teammates to run with. We push each other and make training fun. My dad also supports me 100% not only taking me to all practices and meets, but helping me with race strategies.”
Her goals continue to be lofty, to win an individual national championship in cross country this fall and to set national and world age group records in track. Her ultimate dream is to win an Olympic goal medal and start a foundation to encourage those with handicaps to discover the joy in running and competing.
Sydney, the youngest 7th grader at Canyon Hills Junior High School, has excelled in all athletic endeavors. She has her black belt in karate, played club and all-star soccer and competed in gymnastics. In addition to being an accomplished athlete, Sydney is a GATE and honor role student and has even sung on national television at 3 and 4 years old.