WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Three Wilmington track clubs - Port City, Cape Fear Flyers, and Without Limits, will be represented at the National Junior Track & Field Championships in Sacramento next week.
"For them to make it all the way to Nationals, I was just like oh my goodness," said Tamika Newsome, an assistant coach for the Port City Track Club. "Gasping for air, like oh my gosh, we're going, we're going."
Eleven athletes from the Port City Track Club, three from the Cape Fear Flyers, and one from Without Limits qualified. Wilmington will be well represented – a testament to the improving talent at the youth level, including Port City's 4x100 team, which earned a win.
"I guess we just had the drive, we wanted it more than everyone else," said Deshawn Ballard, a member of the relay. "It just felt good, knowing that we got first.
These track clubs take in athletes from elementary school to high school. It's an opportunity, notably for sprinters, to work on strength, teamwork, and setting an example.
"This really helps my leadership skills," said Cameron Barnhill, another relay member. "All of the kids, I've got to be a positive influence for them."
As with any national meet, the competition will be a step up from what they encountered at their regional meet in Maryland, but after all they have accomplished, there is nothing to lose once they reach California.
"Mindset has got to be positive," said Barnhill. "If you go in there thinking you can't do anything, than you aren't going to pull anything off. You just have to think you're the better team, then grind it out."