ZACHARY, La. (BRPROUD) – After putting in the hard work, the Zachary Striders Youth Track Club qualifies for the Junior Olympics in Eugene, Oregon.
The Junior Olympics runs from July 24-31. The team will compete in the long jump, triple jump, 400 meter dash, 4×100 meter relay and 4×400 meter relay.
The Zachary team is made up of students who attend Northwestern Middle School and Zachary High School. Team members are Tyler Addison, Bailey Galloway, Karli Hester, Skylar Powe, Lauren Vessel and Carlyn Vessel.
“When [we’re] on the track, [we’re] all we got,” said Karli Hester.
The girls are on a mission to put their little city of Zachary on the map.
“Training has been difficult, but it gets easier because you do it so much and it gets better and it gets easier but when you first start it, it was difficult,” said Bailey Galloway.
Head coach Terry Washington and assistant Ebony McCallister volunteered their time and worked tirelessly throughout the summer track season to equip the team with the skills necessary to compete on the national level.
“These girls put in a great deal of work and exceeded my expectations considering the fact that this is the first year of the club’s existence, and we did not begin training until May,” said Washington.
Now they’re breaking in the spikes and taking their talents to Eugene, Oregon to compete against some of the country’s best.
“I just push them, and I just make sure that they understand that when you walk on the track, what you thought you could do, you got to do better,” said McCallister.
Washington has 30 years of experience coaching high school football and track in the state.
“Coach Washington actually coached me, it was 22 years ago, in high school, at Scotlandville Magnet High School. He actually coached me into a scholarship at Southern University,” said McCallister.
It hasn’t been easy but the girls have motivated one another to get through it all, even in the hot Louisiana weather.
“I’m used to it being hot but I don’t remember it being this hot,” said Washington.
“It’s hot but it’s track. Track is an outdoor sport during this season, so we’re going to run, and we’re going to compete and we’re going to win,” said McCallister.
The girls will be in Oregon competing until the end of July and could still use your support.
Anyone who is interested in sponsoring the organization through donations can contact Washington at 225-405-5373 or Stacy Addison at 225-400-8509. They can also be contacted at ZacharyStriders@gmail.com.
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