Local AAU track stars make the trip to Junior Olympics
PADUCAH, KY -- Since 2006, Allen Treece, the director of the Oscar Cross Boys & Girls Club in Paducah has coached an AAU track team. In that time his athletes have seen some success with occasional trips to national tournaments, until now.
"It's really not me doing that much as a coach," Treece said. "It's more of them dedicating themselves to the sport and working towards a goal."
Fifteen-year-old Aleja Grant, is ranked 2nd in the nation in the 800, and 1600 meter races in her age group.
"I want to prove what I can do," Grant said. "Prove that I can be ranked at the top in the nation."
After the Regional meets, Grant is now one of only five track and field athletes remaining. At the beginning of the year they had more than 30 on the team.
"You can see the work that they put in and it's rewarding," Treece said. "They find their niches, whether it is running, jumping, sprinting, or hurdles."
All five of them have worked everyday to improve their skills on the track, and now each of them will be competing in next weeks AAU National Junior Olympics.
"It's one of those things that they know what they are going into," Treece said. "But later on in life they will look back on their achievements and think that they did something special."
But in the end, win or lose, what they learn on the track is something that they can use going forward outside of the sport.
"I believe I can do this in college," Grant said. "Maybe even take it to another level."