Weatherford’s Mach 1 Track Club is headed north after a strong showing at the recent USA Track and Field Southwestern Association Junior Olympic Championships which included 23 top-10 finishes, with the team set to compete in the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships today at Wisconsin’s Yahara Hills Golf Course.
While Mach 1’s time at the Southwestern Association Junior Olympic Championships, the precursor to nationals, took place last month, Head Coach Lupe Torres said the group’s athletes have kept themselves in top form.
“We recently ran in the Jingle Bell Run which is a 5K, even though some of our runners aren’t training for the 5K,” Torres said.
“Our group for the most part filled in the top 10 places in that race, which was pretty good, showing that they’re getting to where they need to be at the right time.”
Fellow Mach 1 Coach Matthew Mitchell echoed his colleague’s comments, saying that Mach 1’s runners have done well putting in the necessary work to have success at the group’s upcoming competition.
“As far as preparation and focus over the last several weeks, we have mapped out every single day,” Mitchell said.
“[We’ve worked on] long runs, base work, tempo runs and a lot of speed work.”
With that said, Torres stressed that challenges ahead still remain, perhaps most notably the winter weather of Wisconsin.
“We have 17 athletes going, it’s pretty exciting, but the only thing is, it’s gonna be a challenge for us because we run here in Texas and it doesn’t get as cold,” Torres said.
“We really haven’t practiced in the cold as much, we’re going to be in Madison, Wisconsin, I think it’s actually gonna be around nine or 10 degrees and is supposed to be snowing. We’re not used to those elements, so it will be really interesting to see how the kids do in that weather.”
Torres added that while the weather’s effect on Mach 1’s runners will likely be highly dependent on the individual, he has the upmost confidence in the team’s ability to overcome the elements.
“I think it’s gonna really depend on the athlete, but I think most of them are going to be there a day or two early to get acclimated, so I think for the most part they’ll do reasonably well,” Torres said.
Set to compete against roughly 4,000 other runners from 375 different track clubs, Mitchell said Mach 1’s runners have the potential to stand out in the crowd.
“We have a chance for several all-Americans this season and a few potential national champs,” Mitchell said.
“We are especially strong in the 9-10 and 11-12 girls categories and the 17-18 boys category. Although most of our kids are in the bottom of their age group, they are still very strong. Our top three chances of a top-10 finish would be Henry Fierro in the 17-18 mens’ group, Madison Larson in the 11-12 girls and Mayden Mitchell in the 9-10 girls’ category. These three have looked particularly strong this season for their age groups.
“We have several other kids that have an outside chance as well. There will be over 4,000 kids and over 375 different track clubs in Wisconsin this weekend, so to have anyone get in the top 10 or better would be a major accomplishment.”