ROLESVILLE – Rolesville Lightning's Brandon Leacock broke not one, but two national records for the 9-10-year-old boys division at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics July 30 at Lawrence, Kan.
Brandon won first place in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:18.51 and first place in the 400-meter with a time of 58.89 seconds. His personal record in the 400-meter is 58.31 seconds, which he set at regionals earlier this summer.
"I was really happy to break those records," Brandon said. "I had my 800-meter record broken in the 8 and under age division, so that motivated me to break the 800-meter record for my age group this year."
Brandon has competed in the National Junior Olympics since he was 7 years old. He has set national records in the past, but the young athlete still felt nervous approaching the first race in the 800-meter.
"I was nervous about running the 800-meter," Brandon said. "It's a long race against good competition. I didn't feel as nervous in the 400-meter, because I got that race over with faster. I felt more confident running that race."
Last year, Brandon broke the national record in the 800-meter run, but he was disqualified from the race. He took four steps on the line at the start, when runners are supposed to stay in their lane. Brandon redeemed himself in the biggest way this year.
"My mom was happy about the 800-meter, because last year I broke the record, but I was disqualified," Brandon said. "She was happy I broke it this year and got the record back."
After he won first place in both events at regionals, Brandon said he would win first place at nationals the week before he competed. His own predictions came true as he sought out to accomplish what he said he would do. Brandon said the confidence comes from his father, Hillary, who ran track and field at N.C. State.
"My dad helps me build my confidence," Brandon said. "He trains me and everything. He talks me through everything when I'm nervous. He tells me to run like a madman."
Brandon attends Hunter Elementary School in Raleigh. He also plays Pop Warner football for the North Raleigh Steelers. He plays wide receiver and linebacker. Brandon also plays basketball and runs indoor track and field during the winter. He said his favorite subject in school is math and he wants to play sports when he grows up.
Brandon also has two older brothers who competed at the National Junior Olympics. His oldest, Nathan, ran in the 400-meter and his second oldest, Dillon, finished second in the 800-meter run. Brandon's younger brother, Brian, ran in the 400-meter at the National Junior Olympics.
"My brothers don't get jealous," Brandon said. "They're happy that I won."
Dillon didn't make the finals in the 400-meter race at nationals, but he did finished second in the 800-meter with a time of 2:02.60.
"I did my best at nationals, but I think I could have done better in the 400-meter," Dillon said. "I could have won the 800-meter, but I was nervous about the other athletes around me. I got out hard in the first lap, but I got tired in the last stretch."
All of the Leacock brothers train together. Dillon said watching his brother break two national records was no big deal.
"It's not surprising to me that Brandon broke those records," Dillon said. "He trained for it. We expect it to happen. It feels normal for him to win."
Rolesville Lightning also had Stephen Elliott represent the club at the National Junior Olympics. The junior at Franklin Academy finished seventh in the nation in the decathlon with a personal record score of 5,256 points in the 15-16 age group. He will also be running cross country for Franklin Academy this fall.
"I thought I did well at nationals," Elliott said. "I broke my personal record, so it was nice to compete at that level."