A club record 34 kids with Weatherford’s Mach 1 Track Club travel to Fort Worth’s Herman Clark Stadium next week to compete in USA Track and Field’s Region 12 Junior Olympic Championships.
That number is up from 23 regional qualifiers a year ago.
For Head Coach Lupe Torres, now in his 24th year with the club, Mach 1’s ever-growing success goes to show how mentally and physically tough its runners are as well as the commendable work ethic they display.
“We’re blessed we have kids that are hard workers,” Torres said.
“You can see by how they workout, they push each other.
“It’s awesome and satisfying how much hard work the kids put in. And it’s even more rewarding because each year it seems like we get bigger and bigger, more athletes want to be part of it because they see our success and how hard we work. We don’t advertise, so it’s [all] word of mouth.
“It’s really rewarding in that aspect.”
Mach 1 is looking to outdo a stellar 2018 summer which saw the club send eight to national competition; three of who (all from Aledo) won all-American honors.
To get there, Mach 1 has been holding practices every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday ahead of regionals.
Already benefitting from excellent conditioning after a season’s worth of work, the focus of the club’s practices are all about sustaining that level of fitness, Torres said.
“We’re basically maintaining at this point, doing a lot of speed work mixed in with endurance and stamina work, Torres said.
“One of our drills we do is 30 seconds fast, 30 seconds slow intervals. And what that does is help them work on their breathing and stamina. It kind of mimics the race, when they have to speed up and [keep pace] with the leaders.
“We also do some parachute drills to work on strength. They have to run with a parachute against the wind.”
Torres added that building and nurturing the right mentality within Mach 1’s runners is also a high priority ahead of next week.
“Mental preparation is a huge part of it,” Torres said.
“If they can make it through one of our practices, it helps a lot because we push them and it’s not easy.”
As Mach 1’s success has grown, so has the size of the club.
“We get kids from all over Parker County,” Torres said.
“We get some from Poolville, as far as Ranger and Saginaw. I’ve even got inquires from as far as Abilene.”
At the same time, Torres said he wants to maintain a high level of personal involvement with each athlete’s training, something a smaller club is more conducive to.
“As far as the size of the club, I like to keep it kind of small,” Torres said.
“This year we had 60 kids, and I’d like to keep it about right there. Once you get more than 60, they are not getting the full benefits.”