Roderick Bell and Tamika Newsome established the Port City Track Club (PCTC) in 2013 with a mission to promote track and field, distance running and allied events to the Wilmington community. Their patience and desire to grow have paid off. For the first time, PCTC has qualified athletes for the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics.
The event began Monday and runs through Sunday in Sacramento, Calif. Eleven members of PCTC will compete.
The Port City Track Club (PCTC) had 11 athletes qualify for the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics. The event began Monday and runs through Sunday in Sacramento, Calif.
List of competitors: Connor McPherson (9-10 boys 1500-meter racewalk); Trenton Hall (9-10 boys 1500-meter racewalk); Kalaeh Peters (9-10 girls 1500-meter racewalk); Kaleb Hall (11-12 boys 1500-meter run); Kaleigh McPherson (11-12 girls 1500-meter racewalk); Brianna Sanders (15-16 girls high jump); Autumn James (17-18 girls high jump); J.C. Smith (17-18 boys long jump); Deshawn Ballard, Cameron Coley-Barnhill, J.C. Smith, ShaQuan Graham (17-18 boys 4×100 relay).
Other locals participating: Jayhlen Washington of Cape Fear Flyers (17-18 boys 110-meter hurdles, triple jump and long jump); Russell Corbett of Cape Fear Flyers (17-18 boys shot put, javelin and discus); Gregor Brockin of Cape Fear Flyers (7-8 boys shot put and turbo javelin).
“My expectation is first, that the kids soak up every moment of this experience,” Bell said. “Not too many kids have made it this far and can do what they have done. I want them to perform their best. If they happen to bring home some hardware, that’s a plus.”
The organization, for athletes ages 7-18, started with nine competitors. This year, PCTC has 43 kids on the roster.
“We like to consider ourselves one of the fastest growing track programs in this area,” Bell said. “We hope to develop self-discipline, dedication and confidence in each athlete, while emphasizing fun.”
Several participants, including Autumn James, will be riding on a plane for the first time. The rising senior at New Hanover High will compete in the 17-18 girls high jump on Wednesday.
James is in her first year with PCTC, but she has already seen an improvement.
“I came in jumping a 5-3 and then two meets ago I set a new PR (personal record) at 5-4,” she said.
The 17-18 boys 4×100 relay team of Deshawn Ballard, Cameron Coley-Barnhill, J.C. Smith and ShaQuan Graham finished first at the regional competition in Landover, Md. They are hoping to compete for a medal when their event gets underway Thursday. The finals are set for Saturday.
Coley-Barnhill, Smith and Graham all compete on the 4×100 relay team at North Brunswick High School. It didn’t take long for Ballard, who attends Laney, to gel with the others.
“We see each other at a lot of meets during school, so the chemistry was already there,” Graham said. “Deshawn is faster than me, so he pushes me to go harder.”
Eight-year-old Kalaeh Peters, who attends Gregory Elementary, was looking forward to visiting California for the first time. She competed in the 9-10 girls 1500 racewalk on Monday.
“We are planning to go places and visit museums and aquariums, and we are going to have fun at the stadium,” said Peters, who had her sisters, Kateria and Kalaia, cheering her on from the stands.
via – SN