Because Of Them We Can
By BOTWC Staff
This 13-year-old Nebraska teen is going viral for her athleticism and agility.
Kevin Patillo and his wife, Lt. Col. Sheree Patillo, have four children — their youngest daughter, Jaiya Patillo, is the one dominating the track. Her father told Dayton Daily News “I noticed that Jaiya started to try to run as a baby in her walker, I knew she would be a runner all her life.” Off the track, the Nebraska native is an actress, social media influencer, and model for Justice for Kids & Walmart. She’s even participated in a number of beauty pageants. On the track, she’s a 200 and 400-meter sprinter. Patillo has become a 14-time Jr. Olympian, and the 2022 USATF & Nike National Champion, and she’s doing it all at the young age of 13! She trains at the Offutt Air Force Base’s Field House where her mother is stationed. Her support system is unbreakable; her godmother is Olympian Jackie Joyner Kersee! The teen’s father speaks on his daughter’s talents in awe saying, “Jaiya has been running track since she was 7 years old. The very first time she ran competitively, she earned a medal and went straight to the nationals. She is just uber-talented.”
Earlier this year, Patillo entered an open meet at Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex for the SDSU Last Chance meet; she ran in the 400-meter race amongst many older competitors. She finished the race in first place, scoring a 57.60. Although the competition took place back in February, the video footage of her race is still sweeping the internet and gaining media attention. Gathering over 100 million views and more than 10 million likes for her videos across various social media platforms, her comments are saying stuff like, “Just a matter of time until you get to represent Team USA in the Olympics!” and “One of the future faces of USA Track and Field!” That wasn’t the only time one of her videos blew up though; there’s another TikTok of her running 17 MPH on a treadmill that attracted the attention of ESPN and Sports Illustrated, but she recently broke her own treadmill record and can now run 19 MPH.
The seventh grader told KMTV-News 3 Omaha, “It was an open track meet that we ended up running at, and it was really crazy running with college athletes. It was a lot different than running with my age group. And you think about how it’s more competitive when you’re running against college because they’re not just running. They’re running for their scholarship or whatever it is that they’re running for, so it’s a lot more competitive.”
December will mark her eighth year being a track runner. The young track star is aiming high with hopes of attending the upcoming 2024 Olympics in Paris, France. Next year she plans to begin running in the 60-meter dash after taking a three-year absence. In her spare time, she’s a hard-working student and artist; she loves to draw and create oil paintings which she sells online. She donates the proceeds to children’s charities like The Shriners Hospitals and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The teenager is also super humble, telling Dayton Daily News, “I’m good at running in general and always have been, but it took a lot of work to get the form and technique down. I have natural speed, but I have to practice everything else.”
Keep making strides, Jaiya!
Photo: Patillo Management/