The Brusly High track team’s success doesn’t stop once the school year ends, it is a year-round process.
In 1996, current Lady Panthers track coach, Trent Ellis founded the Future Track Club with which many of Brusly´s track stars compete and who recently qualified for the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, July 23-29.
The Future Track Club is made up of track and field athletes mostly in the Baton Rouge, Gonzales and surrounding areas who come together to compete in the USA Track and Field meet.
Ellis said when he first started running in his younger years, there weren’t many options for track athletes outside of school.
“I just wanted to offer another option that didn’t just solely focus on winning when you are 9, 10, 11 years old when it didn’t matter, but to teach how to compete, how to perform, the technical aspects of the sport, and as they get older, to focus on the business side of getting scholarships and winning,” Ellis said.
The club recently had district qualifying in Monroe two weeks ago and competed against teams from Louisiana and Mississippi where the top 10 in each two-year age group qualified for regionals.
“The age groups start at 7-8 all the way up to 17-18,” Ellis said. “Regionals was at Middle Tennessee State where the top 5 go to the Junior Olympics. It was run over two days of prelims and finals with teams from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.”
Ellis said the Junior Olympics will consist of the top 5 from all 16 of the regionals, which encompass all states.
Lady Panther star Ta’la Spates qualified in the 400-meter dash and is a member of the regional champion 4X100-meter and 4X400-meter relay teams in the 17 and 18-year-old age group.
Lady Panther teammates Mackenzie Jenkins and Megan Williams qualified as well, although in the 15 and 16-year-old age group. Both are members of the champion 4X100 relay team, and Williams also qualified with her champion 4X400 relay team.
The club also had two up-and-coming Brusly track athletes qualify for the Junior Olympics. Eight-year-old Jayde Jones qualified in the individual 100, 200, and 400 runs and 11-year old Skylor Mitchell qualified in the 200 and 400.