(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Mazzie Boyd's road to Houston had to start with someone noticing her ability.
"My coach, Danny Butterfield, saw my times and wanted me on his track team," Mazzie said. "We sent into that, did a couple qualifying meets."
But when Butterfield saw what she could do, he had a proposal that took Mazzie by surprise.
"He told me he thought I was a 400 runner," she said. "Me and my mom laughed at him because we always thought I was a 200 runner. But he was like, 'No Mazzie, this is your race. You can do it.'"
"She just started out in seventh grade and had been doing fairly well around here," Mazzie's mom Megan Boyd said. "But he brought to my attention that he thought she could do better in the longer distances."
But the choice to move to the 400 meter would be one she wouldn't regret.
After a successful qualifying meet in Oak Grove and and a top three finish in a statewide qualifier, she found herself competing at the US Track & Field Junior Olympics.
"It was really nerve-racking looking at these people and realizing these people are going to be future Olympians," Mazzie said. "So I had really bad anxiety. I just wanted it to be done."
"It's kind of mind-boggling seeing the quality of athletes down there," Mazzie's dad Jason said. "You're looking at the best of the best."
Mazzie raced to a 6th place finish, clocking in at just under a minute and five seconds.
She says the support from her family and friends has been outstanding, but having a former high school track standout for a dad rooting her on certainly helps too.
"I'm glad she did," Jason said. "I enjoyed it in school, and it's fun to watch her. You kind of relive a little bit."
"I'm just proud of the hard worked she put in," Megan said. "She worked hard all summer and ran in the heat."
Now, at only 14-years-old, Mazzie has plenty of time to get even better, and could be a staple of the Lion's varsity squad in the near future.
"It'll help me a lot when I get to go into high school and try to make it to state and everything."