55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 24, 2018
Jaiya Patillo, a Junior Olympian, poses for a photo outside the Offutt Field House on Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, 2018. After spending a considerable amount of time training at Offutt, Jaiya chose to represent the Air Force on her track apparel for Amateur Athletic Union track meets. (Courtesy Photo)
Jaiya Patillo, a Junior Olympian, poses for a photo with her coaches Shunta Paul, left, Nicki Paul, Marlon Brewer, and Elmer "Budgie" Reeves. Patillo does much of her training at Offutt Air Force Base. (Courtesy Photo)
Jaiya Patillo, a Junior Olympian, poses for a photof at the 2018 USA Track & Field National Junior Olympics July 2018, at Greensboro, North Carolina. Patillo does much of her trtaining at Offutt Air Force Base. As of Sept. 21, 2018, her personal best times in her race categories were 14.32 seconds in the 100-meter, 28.53 seconds in the 200-meter, and 64.56 seconds in the 400-meter. (Courtesy Photo)
When U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Sheree Patillo, U.S. Strategic Command Total Force Engineering Installation Team detachment commander and her family arrived at Offutt Air Force Base in May 2017, they had no idea they were coming to the home of Department of Defense’s largest fitness center, nor that it would have a 700-meter indoor track.
She and her husband, Kevin, have four children and their youngest, Jaiya, has her eyes set on the 2024 Olympic Games.
Though only 9 years of age, Jaiya is already a 6-time U.S. Junior Olympian in track and field, which is why walking into the Offutt Field House for the first time felt like landing on a gold mine for this young track star.
Jaiya started running track as a 7-year-old. She qualified through competitive state and regional championships to advance to the United States Junior Olympic Nationals for the four outdoor and two indoor seasons she has participated in thus far.
After spending countless hours at the Offutt Field House with her dad training her, 2018 proved to be her best indoor and outdoor season yet. Jaiya won several championships this year, and she is currently ranked ninth in the nation for the USA Track and Field Association’s 400 meter run in the 9 to 10-year-old girls category.
Jaiya is one of the youngest contenders in her age group since her birthday falls in December, five months after the season ends. She stills holds her own while competing against older nine and ten year old girls.
Up until the latter part of this track season, Jaiya’s niche was the 200-meter dash. However, during practices with her USATF team, Apollo Track Club, her head coach Elmer “Budgie” Reeves noticed that Jaiya was exceptional at running the 400-meter while using that race to train for the 200-meter dash.
Coach Reeves encouraged Jaiya to enter the 400-meter race, and through mentorship of the Apollo Track Club owners and coaches Nicki and Shunta Paul, as well as coach Marlon Brewer, Jaiya promised to run at least one 400-meter during the outdoor season.
With only four track meets remaining in the season, she kept her promise to her team and coaching staff and took on the challenge. Jaiya participated in the Russell E. Blunt East Coast Invitational July 20-22, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina.
She bested the field by three seconds, not only taking the gold in the girls division with a time of 64.76 seconds, but also surpassing the clocked time of the winner in the boys division.
Jaiya’s stellar performances have earned her a total of 39 Medals which she proudly displays in her room: 17 gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze.
This aspiring professional sprinter and pediatrician has already began garnering the attention of college coaches and is well on her way to a bright, promising future, said her parents.
After spending a considerable amount of time training at Offutt, Jaiya chose to represent the Air Force on her track apparel for Amateur Athletic Union track meets.
As for her participation in USATF, she is a member of Apollo Track Club out of Omaha, as aforementioned, and received full support from her team and coaching staff and many others in the Omaha and Midwest track and field community.
Her personal best times in her race categories were 14.32 seconds in the 100-meter, 28.53 seconds in the 200-meter, and 64.56 seconds in the 400-meter.