Southern Oklahoma has a deep history of championship level track and field teams throughout the area.

Southern Oklahoma has a deep history of championship level track and field teams throughout the area.

After next week, youth from the area hope to add to the legacy.

The Southern Oklahoma Track Club is taking 31 of its 42 athletes to Sacramento, Calif., to compete in the United States Track and Field Junior Olympics July 22-28.

Harold Brown, one of the four founders of the SOTC, was a member of two state winning track teams from Ardmore in the early 1990’s. 

Brown and the other founders saw a dwindling interest in track at Ardmore high school after their graduation, and looked for a way to help out. 

After graduating college and getting a job at the HFV Wilson Community Center, Brown and the other founders started the SOTC in 1996. 

“We wanted to do something to get that excitement and that interest back,” Brown said. “I think we did just that, after we started it, four of the next five years the boys at Ardmore won state championships.” 

On an average year, the SOTC has around 45-50 participants in their club. The club competes in four events throughout the summer, traveling to places in Texas and Kansas for competitions. 

The national competition takes places every year and has roughly 7,000 to 8,000 participants from around the country, ranging from 7 to 18-years old. 

The talent level from the SOTC in the competition excites Brown, as he hopes members of his team can bring home a top ten finish. 

“Seeing the excitement on the athletes face as they achieve a goal or have some success and they see the hard work and the practice in the heat of the summer pays off,” Brown said. “Im wanting them to learn more and more and be happy about it.” 

HFV Wilson program coordinator JaMia Hubbard was once a former member of the SOTC herself. After joining the club when she was seven, Hubbard and her family moved to Missouri where she finished school. 

After attending Langston University for her bachelors degree and then East Central University for her masters, Hubbard made her way back home to Ardmore and found herself back on the track. 

“Once I moved back to Ardmore, I wanted to get involved, I wanted to coach,” Hubbard said. “My favorite part is seeing the kids get to experience it, it gives me a lot of happiness and joy seeing the smiles and how competitive they are.” 

As a former track athlete herself, Hubbard knows how hard it is to compete and be successful. Seeing people she coaches make nationals is exciting for Hubbard, and she hopes the kids can come home with the gold.

“I feel like, coaching and me being a part of kid’s lives, I get joy from that,” Hubbard said. “This year has been a really good year for us, we have a really good group of kids out here who are really competitive. To be able to go and represent Ardmore, Oklahoma, Southern Oklahoma, it is a great opportunity and it puts us on the map.”