BEAUMONT, Texas — A young track star is showing off her speed and going viral on TikTok, and one Beaumont family is watching with an extra reason to smile.
The young athlete has ties to Southeast Texas and her last name might sound familiar.
A viral video is quickly racking up views. And is moving almost as fast as the star of the video herself. 12-year-old Jaiya Patillo’s trainer captured this video of her sprinting at 17 miles per hour.
“I didn't even know it had been recorded. Later, I had found that out and it had had 70,000 views on his Instagram,” Jaiya Patillo said.
Jaiya Patillo’s athleticism capturing the attention of ESPN. They reposted the video, gaining more than 7.7 million likes.
(Editor’s Note: The TikTok video has now surpassed 56 Million views)
“We were planning at stopping at 15 mph, but they said it looked like I was jogging so we went up to 17,” Jaiya Patillo said.
So, how does that translate on the track and field? Her personal best 26.34 seconds in the 200 meter and 58.78 in the 400.
Jaiya Patillo has been racking up wins and gold medals since she was 7 years old.
After all, her roots stem from gold, the Golden Triangle that is. Her uncle owns Patillo's BBQ and her father was born and raised in Beaumont. He knew his daughter was gifted at a young age.
“An older couple stopped us and they said, 'hey we just wanted to let you know we've been coaching track for over 40 years and your daughter has a gift for track,'” Kevin Patillo said.
And even off the track field, Jaiya Patillo shines with her other talents.
“She aspires to have a free-for-all center for the less fortunate. She donates to St. Jude’s Hospital,” Sheree Patillo said.
The young athlete is unphased by her new found TikTok fame.
“I have definitely been proud of her along the way. I mean no matter how she did, Jaiya has stayed grounded, and that's what I'm most proud of,” Sheree Patillo said.
The nine-time junior Olympian said track can be tough and at the starting line, she turns to her source of comfort.
“I just think about the verse Philippians 4:13, that ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’” Jaiya Patillo said.
Jaiya Patillo is now training for a nationals competition in August and dreams to cross the finish line in the 2024 Olympics.