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    Photos by Joon Kim 

    Eight-year-old Jada Harper is draped in track-and-field medals. How many has she won in the two years she’s been competing? “I don’t know,” she says, “about 100. At first, I came in fourth, fifth or sixth, and now I come in first or second. I like to get medals.” Harper is one of a dozen on the all-girls track-and-field team the Kentucky Fillies. The girls, ages seven to 17, practice at Fairdale High School and occasionally at Ballard, where Fillies founder Tamika Townsend also coaches. “Coach T,” as she’s known, started the team eight years ago. This month, several Fillies will compete at the AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa. They wear hot-pink uniforms. “Everywhere we go, people know who we are because of the pink,” Townsend says. Fourteen-year-old Trinity Cleaver has been on the team for about a year. “Running,” she says, “can make you feel like you can do anything.”

    This originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine as the Bit Closer. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

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