Three members of the Southern Oklahoma Track Club in Ardmore took home medals in a national tournament last month.

Three members of the Southern Oklahoma Track Club in Ardmore took home medals in a national tournament last month. 

Abigail Jones and Izabella Popa placed second and fifth in discus respectively and Jaedyn Swindall placed fourth in the mini-javelin throw in the New Balance Nationals Outdoor in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Their coach, Harold Brown, said the girls were competing against 7,000 kids from 15 regions around the country. 

“We’ve been really close, in the last few years, to someone being able to place, but we never could break that barrier,” Brown said.

This year, the club brought roughly 50 runners, throwers and jumpers with them to the competition. Since the discus event was first, Brown said he gave Jones and Popa an extra challenge.

“I told them on their first throw, they’d need to throw as well as they can to set the tone for the rest of the competition,” Brown said.  

They took it to heart, placing first and second in the first round.  

“Those were the best in the nation they were throwing against,” Brown said. “Some years we’d think we were really good, then we’d get to nationals and it would be a real eye opener, because they’d be really-really good. It’s a good learning experience.”

The track club started in 1996, when Brown was the community center executive director. He started the club with fellow coach Chris Pelton, who still coaches as well.  

“And even though we don’t have any children anymore, we’re still passionate about the program,” Brown said. 

Formerly known as Ardmore Track Club, the name was changed to the Southern Oklahoma Track Club in 2006.

“Even when we started it, it was never just for Ardmore,” Brown said. “We get children from all over Oklahoma, sometimes even Texas.”