LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - Five Lexington youth track runners are getting ready to pack their bags and represent the Palmetto State in California in a National Track and Field meet.
The runners will compete next weekend in the 2019 USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships held in Sacramento, C.A July 22-28, 2019.
While there are kids across the state that have qualified, it’s a special year for the Lexington Wildcats as five of their runners qualified, in their second year of competing in the meet.
Anna Owens coaches the Lexington Wildcats for the past five years. The team has over 125 runners.
“We’ve been practicing since the very beginning of March. A lot of them came right off of cross country season, and before that, they came off of last year’s track season. So you know there’s only been a few months of downtime for most of them on top of other sports that they do,” Owens said.
Throughout the season, they practice in all conditions.
“We practiced in the cold, heat, rain,” Owens said. “Every practice most of them are putting in miles and miles of hard work. It’s very planned out how much they are going to do, and they’ve done everything from sprints to distance to hills to javelin. Most of them compete in at least one field event stairs, burpees lots of core work. It’s hard they don't come out here and it’s not an easy practice and we don’t take it easy on them, we expect them to perform at the caliber of athlete that we know that they can be. Not where they really are right now.”
Coach Owens says it’s more than just teaching the kids how to run and get the best time on the clock.
“It could go so much bigger than track, and if you can get them to believe in themselves for something like this in just a sports competition, what can you really push them to do inside of their lives outside of track to make them a better human being as they grow up,” Owens said.
The Wildcats will be competing all week with the hopes of qualify for finals.
The runners competing this year in the National Championships are:
- Kaden Murray- 800, 1500 and Javelin
- William Smith- 3000 Meter Run
- Caroline Near- 1500 Meter Run and Javelin
- Tra’liyah Gardner- 100 and 200 Meter Runs
- Jamey Paterson III- 100, 200 and Long Jump- AAU National Championships