During its 23-year existence, the Mach I Track Club has sent athletes to national competition. Named the Weatherford Track Club upon its inception, the group sent a handful of national competitors in 2011, a banner year for the summer track season club.
With 16 competing at the state meet in Lubbock last weekend, one more than last year, Mach I ran, jumped and tossed their way to 15 medals, and 10 reservations to the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, in Baltimore, MD.
Pretty heady stuff for the Mach I team, who doubled the number of qualifiers from last year.
“I think some of these kids realize how special [going to the national meet] is,” said Lupe Torres (Coach Lupe), one of the Mach I coaches. “But probably not all of them do. We just tell them to have fun and enjoy the experience.
“When the younger kids look back on this later on, they will know how special it was.”
Elliott Lancaster, who competes in the Intermediate Boys Division, made triple sure he would be able to make the trip to Morgan State University, where the Junior Olympic events will be held. Lancaster finished second in the high jump, third in the long jump and eked into the triple jump with a fifth-place showing. State competitors had to finish in the top five for a spot in the national meet.
The brother-sister act of Graydon and Gracie Morris will be traveling to Baltimore, as well. Both qualified in the 1500-meter (third place) and 3000-meter runs (second place) in their respective divisions. Graydon may be able to give his sister a heads up on what to expect at the national meet, as he competed in the nationals last year.
Other Mach I national qualifiers include Kadee Kelley (fourth — long jump), Tyler Gray (fifth — high jump & fifth — 100-meter hurdles), Justin McAfee (fifth — 800-meter run), Mady Young (fourth — 800-meter run), Amelia Ingram (second — 1500-meter run), Bryan Collard (fourth — 1500-meter run) and Sarah Calhoon (third — discus throw).
Coach Lupe, as the only regular Mach I coach who will attend the meet, will stay busy throughout the week assuring the athletes get where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be. Larry Young, one of the parents, will also be helping out the coach. As has been the case since the club’s beginning, the volunteer efforts of the coaches and parents are a labor of love.
With the positive jump in the participation, the Mach I logistics for getting the young athletes to Baltimore does present a challenge. The club has set a goal of $3,000 to help cover air fare expenses and is asking for the support of local businesses and private individuals to help attain the goal. Interested parties may contact Lupe Torres (817-229-3036), Earl Mitchell (817-596-4842) or Antonio Torres (817-253-9770). Judy Wallace, the club administrator, may be contacted at email@example.com, or visit the Facebook page at Mach I Track Club.