— By GREG WEBB
As Weatherford residents motor along South Bowie Drive in the early evening hours of May and June, at least for the past 24 years, they have been apt to notice a flurry of activity at the Hall Middle School football and track field on the east side of the thoroughfare.
Mach 1 Track Club athletes, from 8 to 18-years-old, have been honing their respective running, hurdling, jumping and hurling skills for nearly two and a half decades, and considering the growth, in the number of participants and their relative success, chances are motorists can count on the observing the sight for at least another quarter of a century ... and likely beyond.
Another constant of the track club for many of those years has been its coaching staff, with the Torres brothers triad — Lupe, Luis and Antonio — at its core. Earl Mitchell, who has been a mentor with the Weatherford-based club since its inception, still lends a hand to the coaching staff, as well.
Also helping the Mack 1 athletes in the 2013 season are coaches Larry Young and James Gray. Former Weatherford High School athlete Holton Hemby, a UTA senior who has helped coach in the past few years, has escalated his personal training this year, and is currently in Colorado.
The recent regional meet, conveniently held just a short distance away (for the Mach 1 TC) in Springtown, spawned a larger crop of qualifiers for the Region 12 “state meet” than in past years.
With 15 qualifiers each in 2010 and 2011 and 19 last season, Mach 1 earned berths for 25 athletes at the Porcupine Stadium-hosted meet concluded June 22. Most of the qualifiers will travel to Humble ISD’s Turner Stadium this week. The USATF Junior Olympics Region 12 Championships will run from July 3 through July 6.
The top five finishers in each event will qualify for the National Junior Olympic meet, which will be held this year at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C., from July 22-28. The qualification number was expanded from three to five last season, allowing for a bigger field, and thus, more competition.