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Run fast and don't stop

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By Jenna McKenna

When Genesis Cilo-Cilo heads down to Nova Southeastern University later this month, he'll carry his racing spikes and the hopes of his proud parents and family. Cilo-Cilo, the oldest of four children in his family, had an outstanding senior season as a sprinter at Chiefland and earned himself a track scholarship to Nova.

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Although he started off running the one- and two-mile distances, it didn't take Cilo-Cilo long to discover the short track.

“I ran the longer races as a freshman, but the next year I got to try sprinting,” he says.

“I liked that a lot better.”

Since then, he's been a leading 100- and 200-meter man for Chiefland track, and a stalwart on the 4x100 squad, along with Cantrell Richardson, Zach Tyson and Myles Mitchem.

“I've really learned a lot from my coaches, especially Coach Corbin,” he says.

“What I was really trying to improve this year was my starting speed – how I explode off the blocks. That's my weakness when I start off, and so I'm going to continue to work on that.”

Cilo-Cilo ran a season-best 22.76 in the 200 meters at the district meet in April to finish fifth in the final. The 4x100 team took second at districts to advance to regionals, where they finished fifth. All in all, it was a good finish for Chiefland boys' track.

Cilo-Cilo's brother Mark is also a sprinter, but in the medium distances – 400 and 800 meters. Genesis says the two have a friendly rivalry, but never race each other any more because their event specialties are so different.

“Sometimes I'll try to get him to race me, but he just laughs and says, 'No way – you're better than me,'” Genesis says.

Mark, a rising senior, is also very talented, helping the Chiefland boys' 4x800 team to a regional berth. He'll be a big leader for Chiefland track this coming year.

A big achiever off the track as well as on it, Genesis was also awarded a Florida Bright Futures Medallion scholarship, which pays 75 percent of college tuition and fees at a Florida public four-year university.

“I want to take advantage of all my options,” he says.

“My parents always taught me to keep academics first, but they supported me in my running because they saw my talent,” he says.

Cilo-Cilo's father, Josaphat, ran track in college back in the Philippines. He and his wife Eva emigrated to the U.S., landing first in Americus, Ga, where Genesis was born. The family moved to Chiefland while Genesis was still in primary school. Cilo-Cilo says his dad has been to see his track meets, and he hopes if he comes up to compete in the Florida Relays, his parents will be able to come cheer him on.

“My parents help keep me motivated,” he says.

“They grew up poor, and they want me to have a good life. I want to fulfill their dream and not let them down.”