Fleming duo finds bond on track

Azavier Kirtley and Tajai Jackson are among the best in group 4A

ROANOKE, VA – William Fleming has had it's fair share of athletes take to the track throughout the years. This year, it takes form in a dynamic duo. They have only known each other for about two years but these teammates have become more like family.

"An annoying little brother," said senior Azavier Kirtley.

"My apprentice, Zay," said sophomore Tajai Jackson.

"They lift each other when they're down. They give each other positive input and support. They have really come together and gelled as a team," said William Fleming track coach Robert Vineyard.

Kirtley and Jackson both have a passion for track, and the two are running out their dreams at William Fleming.

During the indoor season, both were ranked in the top 10 in all of group 4A. But more importantly, they were a part of the indoor team that captured its first state title in 35 years.

"It felt really great, because everybody was happy, and smiles were on everybody's face. So, it was a great feeling for us that we were here, and we won it," said Jackson.

Momentum from the indoor season has carried over to the spring, where the Colonels took first as a team in the Cosmopolitan Invitational. Kirtley came first in both the 200 and 400 meter dash. Despite suffering an injury, Jackson has brought a certain level of intensity to the team from his home land of Jamaica.

"They have a different perspective about track and field. Track and field is their life in Jamaica. So, they train very hard and things, and he has brought that aspect to our team," said Vineyard.

As the season winds down and Kirtley finishes up his senior season, it's clear that this friendship will go beyond the track.

"He said he wanted to get better and I said I wanted to get better,so we had to push each other," said Kirtley.

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