It's safe to say that Justice Richardson has athletic competition in her DNA.
Her father, Matt, was a member of the 1991 John F. Kennedy state championship football team before he played at Youngstown State. Her mother, Janell, ran track for Howard University.
"Yeah, I'd definitely say it's in my genes," Justice said. "But I just love to run."
Now Justice - who recently completed eighth grade at Howland Middle School - is running to the AAU and USAJR track meets in the coming weeks. Earlier this spring, she won the 100-meter dash (12.48) and the 200-meter dash (25.90) at the middle school state track and field meet at Reynoldsburg High School in May.
"It's great competing against such great runners from all over the place," Justice said. "It will definitely prepare me for high school competition next year."
Matt said Justice, a Warren native, will most likely attend Warren G. Harding next season.
"All of the work she does and the great competition she's already faced will help her transition to high school," he said. "She really works hard at what she does, which is the key to unlocking her talent."
Another key is her participation with the Youngstown Striders, a team coached by Youngstown State assistant track and field coach David Townsend.
"My parents have been a big motivation, and so has coach Townsend," Justice said. "He's taught me a lot of fundamental stuff about technique, which has made me a better runner."
Justice's path may have been predetermined, but JFK runner Ethan Petrilla took a decidedly different road to competition on the track. For most of his young life, he played mostly basketball, soccer and baseball, but a chance encounter with the sport in the Columbus area gave John F. Kennedy a possible rising star.
"It was something he never tried before then, and he ended up taking an interest in it," said Ethan's father, Eric. "He got into it the following year at JFK, and they really helped him develop his interest and skills as a runner."
The guidance of JFK track coaches Anthony Rossi and his wife Amy Rossi have been especially helpful in Petrilla's development.
"I have the best coaches - I can't thank them enough for helping me," he said. "They taught me a lot about the psychological aspect of running, how to prepare, the technique, and developing a strategy when you run."
Petrilla won the Division 3 3200-meter run with a time of 11:25.49, which was also the fifth best of the entire meet.
"Being successful in something definitely helps, but I think I have a natural love for competitive running," he said. "I love the individual aspect of it - you're on you're own when your out there, and it's incredibly satisfying when you win."