Pick. 8-year-old is National Track Star

August 2, 2023
By Rachel Scofield

Photos from Ohio Heat Track Club

Pickerington’s Giuliana (Gigi) Atchley is not your average eight-year-old. She is a track athlete who competes for Ohio Heat Track Club, and she has been winning races and breaking records in her age group.

She is ranked number one in the state of Ohio for girls and younger in both the 800 meter and 1500 meter. She is the state runner up in the 400 meter.

“It feels really amazing to be number one in the state of Ohio in the 1500m and 800m for eight and under girls,” Atchley said. “I’ve worked really hard with my coaches and parents to get where I am today, and I’m so excited to go to Iowa for the Jr Olympics to compete for top eight in the nation!”

She recently participated in the USATF JO/Masters Set the Pace Showcase Meet 2023, hosted by PaceSetters Track Club. She ran the 200-meter dash in 32.56 seconds, placing first in her age group. She also ran the 800-meter run in 3:37.92, placing first in her age group.

But that’s not all. She has a personal best of 14.52 seconds in the 100-meter dash, which she achieved at the Ohio Association Junior Olympic Championships on June 17. That’s faster than some of the adult runners at the meet! For her age group, Atchley is a two-time National Champion and a six-time All-American.

She won two indoor Speed Capital MVP titles for seven-year-old girls (indoor running) and she won the eight-year-old outdoor as well. Her favorite race is the 1500 meter.

“I like to run longer distance races,” Atchley said.

In addition to being an incredible athlete, Atchley’s coaches say that she has an incredibly big heart.

“Giuliana is the sweetest little girl is the first thing that everyone always says which is true,” said coach Tremayne Peppers. “She cares so much about her friends and family and always wants to help everyone.

“Everywhere we go, she makes a new friend. That’s one thing her dad and I love so much about her, is her heart. Which leads to Giuliana as an athlete, she has so much heart for this sport, track and field, and it shows when she steps on the track. Gigi works so hard every day towards her goals on and off the track. When she puts a goal in her mind she goes after it and crushes it!”

Atchley’s team, Ohio Heat Track Club is an elite youth AAU track club in Columbus that practices Mondays through Thursdays from 6 pm to 8 pm. They have pages on both Facebook and Instagram or you can email them at ohioheattrackclub@yahoo.com.

“My teams are all great athletes just like me and are always encouraging me to be my best self on and off the track,” Atchley said. “We all have a lot of fun together and we are a big family.”

You can follow Atchley’s track journey on Instagram @gigi_from_ohio