Leander brothers qualify for Junior Olympics, short on funds to afford it

Two brothers from Leander are representing Central Texas in the Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa, but only if they can get through one last hurdle.

Getting to the finish line of any race takes time and dedication.

"These kids put 110% in every day," said Tanya Jarrett McKenzie, the brothers’ mom and coach.

But bringing those hard-earned skills to competition also takes money.

"They're getting older, and it's becoming more strenuous on both myself and my husband," said McKenzie. "This year, we're trying to do some work to help them."

Coach Tanya, Jahmai and Maik's mom, is sending her two sons to the Junior Olympics on July 29.

"They do work hard to get where they are," said McKenzie. "It's not just genetics. We are out here doing what we're supposed to do and more when we are out here. So, I am proud."

The two brothers are forces to be reckoned with in everything from the pentathlon to hurdles.

"I've been really trying to follow my mom's steps because she did hurdles, and I’m really enjoying the hurdles a lot," said Jahmai McKenzie.

About $5,000 stands between them and the finish line in Iowa.

"We've been putting, like I said, we put very a lot of hours into this traveling," said Jahmai McKenzie. "We put in a lot of hours, so it would be very, very sad if we didn't go."

The family said they need help to afford airfare, meals and lodging. Without it, they'll never even cross the starting line.

"We'd crush their dreams," said Tanya Jarrett McKenzie. "We crush their reality. We'd crush what they worked all year for. These boys have been training since October of last year, and this is the highest for an amateur athlete."

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