Mach 1

Forrest Murphy/WD Sports

Weatherford’s Mach 1 Track Club recently qualified a record 17 kids to the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships, up from the previous record of eight runners.

Weatherford’s Mach 1 Track Club will enjoy a heavy presence at national competition later this month after qualifying a record 17 kids (the club record was previously eight runners) at last week’s USA Track and Field Region 12 Championships at Fort Worth’s Herman Clark Stadium.

Mach 1 previously qualified a record 34 kids to the regional competition earlier this summer, up from 23 a year ago.

Highlights from Mach 1’s performance last week included a dominant showing from the group’s  11-12 year old girls, who swept the top three spots in each the 1500M and 3000M races.

In the girls’ 1500M race (ages 11-12), Madison Larsen finished first with a time of 5:07.86, Mykel Murry finished second with a time of 5:23.06 and Sofi Brandenburg finished third with a time of 5:26.23.

In the same age group’s 3000M race, Larsen finished first with a time of 11:06.39, Brandenburg finished second with a time of 11:37.05 and Elizabeth Griffin finished third with a time of 11:37.70.

Mach 1 Coach Matthew Mitchell, who works with the club’s 12 and under runners, said his kids have met each challenge this season with great resolve, with regionals being the latest example of their commitment to the sport and each other.

“The main thing I want to mention about this group of 12U’s is how they work together to do things like stress the pack and take turns leading laps to help with seed times for nationals,” Mitchell said.

“This group works extremely hard day in and day out. They are not intimidated by a few weekend workouts that we had to do to power through July 4 and it showed at Region 12. 

“This team is united which helped them with their sweep [last week]. Of the three big races, the 11-12 girls stole seven of the top nine spot which is unheard of.” 

Mach 1 Head Coach Lupe Torres echoed his colleague’s statements, saying the club’s runners performed lights out at regionals.

“We did really outstanding,” Torres said.

“We actually broke the Mach 1 record for qualifying athletes for nationals. It previously was eight, and we actually qualified 17 this year. 

“In two different events in girls 11-12, we actually got first, second and third.We came home with 22 total medals. Overall, we did outstanding. All the athletes represented the club really well and ran hard. And we had multiple athletes barely miss going to nationals by one spot, and in some cases by one second.” 

Torres said the club’s excellent showing at Herman Clark Stadium last week was all the more impressive considering the competition Mach 1 faced.

“It was a really hard meet because you’re running against basically the best athletes in the whole state of Texas,” Torres said.

Torres and Mitchell now have roughly one week to prepare for nationals, which take place the week of July 22 in Sacramento.

For Mach 1’s runners, that preparation will include arguably the season’s toughest stretch of workouts, Torres said.

 “This upcoming week will be the last week for us to train and get one last set of hard workouts in before we head out to Sacramento,” Torres said. 

“We’re going to do one last hard push, it will be the hardest [set of] practices of the season.”