Weatherford’s own Mach 1 Track Club enjoyed a triumphant finish to a season which saw a (club) record-breaking 17 athletes qualify for national-level competition with one final strong performance, this time at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships in Sacramento last week.
Mach 1 returned home to Texas Monday with seven athletes having earned all-American status (the top eight in each event at nationals earn the distinction) as well as nine total medals.
The local track club previously qualified a record 34 kids to regional-level competition earlier this summer, up from 23 a year ago.
Mach 1’s individual (finals) results from Sacramento are below:
1500M (8 and under boys)
• Cooper Neal, 30th with a time of 6:30.76
1500M Racewalk (9-10 boys)
• Josh Fink, fifth with a time of 12:00.88
3000M (11-12 boys)
• Lincoln Tuin, 23rd with a time of 11:09.26
3000M (13-14 boys)
• Jack Fink, 31st with a time of 10:30.14
• Dominick Barrera, 34th with a time of 10:32.93
3000M (15-16 boys)
• Isaac Hernandez, 24th with a time of 9:36.07
3000M (17-18 boys)
• Henry Fierro, 16th with a time of 9:15.79
800M (9-10 girls)
• Micah Neal, sixth with a time of 2:35.25
1500M (8 and under girls)
• Holly Thomas, 22nd with a time of 6:32.03
1500M (9-10 girls)
• Micah Neal, first with a time of 5:08.40
• Mayden Mitchell, 20th with a time of 5:44.60
1500M (11-12 girls)
• Madison Larsen, fifth with a time of 4:58.60
• Mykel Murry, 15th with a time of 5:18.55
• Sofia Brandenburg, 23rd with a time of 5:24.89
3000M (11-12 girls)
• Madison Larsen, fourth with a time of 10:31.11
• Elizabeth Griffin, 17th with a time of 11:19.69
• Sofia Brandenburg, 18th with a time of 11:19.71
4x800M Relay (11-12 girls)
• Mykel Murry, Sofia Brandenburg, Payton Johnson and Elizabeth Griffin, sixth with a time of 10:29.70
Coach Matt Mitchell, who works with the club’s 12 and under runners, said he was immensely proud of each one of his competitors, adding that it is no small feat beating out much larger clubs across the state and country.
“This is a small club with big results,” Mitchell said.
“Everyone works very hard and continues to get better while gaining valuable experience needed for their future in this sport. This year has been our strongest season so far. These athletes can handle any workout I throw at them.
“It means a lot to me to return home after seven different kids landed the all-American status.
“We go up against clubs like Track Houston, which has eight locations and 500-plus kids. That is just one team in Texas. So it is very exciting to have success at such a high level of going against elite competition at nationals.”
Head Coach Lupe Torres echoed his colleague’s statements, saying everything came together well for the club, which is celebrating its 30th year, in 2019.
“It was like a dream season come true with everything going on, celebrating 30 years of the club’s existence and then us breaking all those club records,” Torres said.
“We came back with nine medals and seven all-American athletes. That’s more than we’ve ever had. And then we had our national champion, Micah Neal as well.”
Neal’s first place finish in the 1500M (9-10 girls division) marked her fourth national championship to date.
One point of optimism for both Mitchell and Torres is the amount of runners coming back next season.
“We are super excited about next year,” Mitchell said.
“We have six superstars in the 11-12 girls division next year. We are building out the other age groups, but our 15-18 young men’s division is looking strong for next year as well.”
“We had some runners returning from last year, but we also had a lot of new athletes that actually made it [to nationals] in their first year which is uncommon,” Torres said.
“That reflects on their work ethic and commitment to the workouts. And Coach Matt did an outstanding job.
“They’re still young, [many] are actually 12 and under, so they’ve still got plenty of years to repeat that and hopefully come back with even more national medals in the future.”