Itâ€™s been said before and is worth repeating - when Dâ€™Asia Duncan jumps, she wins. Even at 10 years old, the Newington nativeâ€™s competition has a long way to go just to keep up.
After dominating the outdoor season last year, where she took home a national title and three national medals at the AAU Junior Olympics, Duncan continued to showcase her abilities during the indoor season.
She saved some of her biggest performances for the AAU Indoor National Championships down in Hyattsville, Md., in the beginning of March, where she left with another national title and became a two-time All-American to go along with the five she was honored with in 2017.
â€śIt was amazing,â€ť Duncan said of her trip to Maryland. â€śIt was fun and it was nice to win.â€ť
At the National Championships, Duncan placed first in the long jump (12 feet, 8.8 inches), second in the high jump (3 feet, 11.6 inches) and placed in the top 10 in the 400 meters.
And during the season, she set new personal bests with a 4â€™0â€ť in the high jump - an 8ÂĽ inch increase from her 2017 indoor season - and 14â€™1â€ť in the long jump (a 2 feet, 2Â˝ inch increase).
â€śThis season I feel like a proved a lot,â€ť Duncan said. â€śI feel like, personally, this was one of my best seasons. I improved a lot.â€ť
Now a mainstay and winner at the high profile meets on the youth circuit, itâ€™s hard to remember this is just Duncanâ€™s second full season competing in the sport.
Duncan initially got to track and field after telling her mother, Marilyn Scott, she wanted to do something with running. She had already been involved in other sports and activities, starting with gymnastics when she was just 6 months old and has done karate, soccer, cheerleading and been a platinum-award winning dancer, as well as being involved in acting and with her school government.Â
But it was sprinting and then ultimately the jumping events Duncan became drawn to. After her mother signed her up for the Central CT Jaguars based out of Bloomfield, the competition has not stood much of a chance since.Â
â€śItâ€™s a blessing,â€ť Scott said. â€śShe is so talented and for not doing this for so long. But I teach her to be humble, but driven. I always tell her, behind every person is a great support system to help them. But itâ€™s really important that she wants it and itâ€™s not about pushing her to do it. She works really hard.â€ť
So when it comes time for training, the two make sure to incorporate fun activates. One day, it could be a day at the trampoline park to practice jumping, another it could roller skating or swimming. Itâ€™s important for the Duncan and Scott to keep the young track star active, but also be a kid at the same time. Trips to meets also mean family vacations too.
â€śMy mom always brings me places to do both,â€ť Duncan said. â€śEven when we travel we do a lot of things. We go bowling, to the spa. Itâ€™s so fun. I like to travel and experience different things.â€ť
Yet when it comes time for meets, Duncan gets into her serious mode. That is crunch time. But even when Duncan is beating the competition, one of the most important lessons Scott has imparted on her is itâ€™s never about winning or losing.
â€śI always tell her, itâ€™s never about first place,â€ť Scott said. â€śItâ€™s always about getting better and getting a personal best. You could come in 10th place, but what was your time or your height? Youâ€™re running against the clock.â€ť
Even at 10, Duncan has set lofty goals for herself. A strong student in the classroom as well, she already knows what she wants to do and be - sheâ€™d love to compete in the Olympics and be a surgeon. Of course, as long as she does her best and continues to work hard she says.
That means more track meets and more wins in the future. And thatâ€™s just fine with Duncan.
â€śI have a lot of supporters that keep up with me and believe in me,â€ť Duncan said. â€śI like to go to the different meets and see my friends and compete against them.â€ť
With all that support, along with her natural talent, Duncan has a bright future ahead. The competition certainly has a long way to go to keep up.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 orÂ firstname.lastname@example.org