Team Rocket reaps medals at Amateur Athletics Union's Championship
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
WITH THE 2014 track season at an end, the St Ann-based Team Rocket Track Club made up of youngsters nine to 15 years old is looking back and celebrating what has been a successful first year for the organisation.
Formed on a whim, the track team made a successful first entry in the Amateur Athletics Union's (AAU) Championship held at the ESPN Complex in Florida, garnering several medals from a team made up of 19 athletes, male and female.
Approximately 280 teams and unattached athletes took part, including teams from local schools including Hydel, Emmanuel, and Belair preparatory schools.
"We entered with high expectations and we did fairly well," said club founder Edward Walsh.
The best results came from the age 12 division where Rohan Watson surprised almost everyone by finishing second in both 100 and 200 metres, garnering two silver medals.
In the relay time finals, the team finished fourth out of 32 teams, while in the nine and under category, Lance Walters finished sixth in the 100 metres. Walters, with sixth position, gained a medal as the top-eight finishers got medals.
"So we ended with two silver medals, four medals for the relay team and one for the sixth-place finish in the 100 metre," Walsh explained.
At the end of the meet, the mood in the camp was one of joy, he stated.
"Everybody's happy and they're quite glad for what we got, based on the fact that we ended up with so much."
The results could have been much better were it not for some older members of the team becoming ill and being withdrawn from the competition.
Team Rocket Track Club was founded in July 2013 after Walsh, disappointed that his children were not selected as part of the school's track team, decided to coach them himself.
This drew the attention of several parents of other youngsters, including some from the same school, who expressed interest in having their kids join the club.
With a new club of young, energetic and eager athletes, Walsh decided to look for opportunities for them to participate and entered the Mona Classic. It was there that he heard of the AAU Championships.
"So we did our research and saw where we could enter and we did."
With the aid of a few sponsors, parents and proceeds from fund-raising events, the team made it to the AAU Championships.
And with the success of their first participation overseas still fresh in their minds, the team is already looking forward to next season.