Southern Oklahoma Track Club heading to nationals in Florida
Next week young athletes with the Southern Oklahoma Track Club will be heading to Jacksonville, Fla. to attend the 2021 USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championship. Some are currently ranked as first in the nation, so the club is expecting to bring home several medals this year.
The competition lasts from July 26 through August 1, and JaMia Cody, program director with the HFV Wilson Community Center said 39 athletes ranging in age from seven to 18 will be competing in a wide number of events. These include all running competitions from the 100 meter to the 1500 meter, 1500 meter race walkers, and field events such as the discus, shot put and long jump.
Cody said while there is no such thing as a typical day during the event, they are often long – at least from the coaches' perspective.
“If a kid has an event that starts at 8 a.m., you have to get up at 5:30 so you can get the athlete up by 6,” Cody said. “That way you can all get something to eat and be ready to check in an hour ahead of time because if you miss your check in, you miss your event.”
Because there are so many athletes competing in so many different events, not all of the children need to be up so early for 7 a.m. check-ins. However, all of the athletes do watch one another's events. So while one set of coaches and athletes heads out for an early event, the rest of the club gets to sleep in a bit because they do not have to be there quite so early.
If there is a break in the day's schedule, the club heads out to lunch, but on busy days everyone stays at the meet and has a lunch of sandwiches and chips.
While the main focus of the trip will be on the championships, there will be a bit of time for sight seeing.
“This year we're going to be taking everyone to the beach,” Cody said. “Some of the kids have never seen the ocean before, so that's going to be one of the highlights of the trip for them.”