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Area athletes qualify for Junior Olympics

Mach 1 athletes shown are (front row, from left) Mayden Mitchell, Josh Fink, Ainsely Tims, and Emmy Strathmeyer and (back) Coach Matt Mitchell, Aiden Mansell, Coach Lupe Torres, Isaac Hernandez, Luke Schabel, Jack Fink, Nico Walden, and Riley Starling.

Bearcat runner leads the way

By Randi Mitchell
Special to The Community News

Aledo Bearcat Isaac Hernandez led the charge for the Mach 1 Track Club when it competed in the AAU Track and Field Region 18 Championships held June 25-28 in Burleson.

In all, the club had six Region 18 champions and qualified 14 athletes for the AAU Track and Field Junior Olympics, to be held July 31 – Aug. 7 in Humble, Texas.

Only the top six qualify out of Region 18 advance to Nationals and Mach 1 had the majority of their runners qualify.

Hernandez, an incoming senior, placed third in the men’s 17 – 18 division, 3000M run with a new Mach 1 record time of 9:02, just a few seconds away from the fastest qualifier in the nation. Isaac also got fifth place in the 1500M run with the time of 4:12. 

Weatherford Kangaroo incoming senior Bryson Crippen stole fourth place in the men’s 17-18 division 400M hurdles with a time of 58 seconds, a new personal record for him. 

Mach 1 athletes who attended the Region 18 meet included (front) Mayden Mitchell and (back, from left) Coach Matt Mitchell, Bryson Crippen, Riley Starling, Jack Fink, Sam Haught, Luke Schabel, Nico Walden, Anna Shpakoff, and Coach Lupe Torres.

The boys 15-16 year old division had a huge day at regionals competing in an extremely tough field. The relay team placed first in the 4 x 800M relay. Runners included Aledo Bearcats Samuel (Sam) Haught, Jack Fink, and Vincent Luffey and Poolville Lion Aiden Mansell. Haught also ran the boys 15 – 16 division open 800M with a time of 2:02, coming back from the middle of the field to get first at the finish line, earning him the Region 18 Champion title.

In the boys 15 – 16 year old division 3000M, run Mansell earned third place with the time of 9:38, Luffey placed fourth with a time of 9:42, and Fink took sixth place with a time of 9:47. Going into the race these runners were only expected to take one of the six qualifying spots, but ended with a triple PR.

In the boys 15 – 16 year division 1500M run, Mansell took second place with the time of 4:21.50 and Luffey was right behind him with time of of 4:21.58. In a photo finish, the race director had to review the race and update the standings because it was so close.

The boys 14 year old division, 1500M race, was a close one with Aledo Bearcat Luke Schabel placing second with a time of 4:43 and Weatherford Kangaroo Riley Starling placing third with a time of 4:44. Schabel also placed third in the 800M run with a time of 2:15. Riley placed second in the 3000M run with a time of 10:16.

In the boys 13 year old division, 3000M Nicholas (Nico) Walden earned Region 18 Champion with a first place time of 10:41 and he placed fourth in the 1500M run with a time of 4:59. Nico is the most improved Mach 1 runner of 2021 so far. 

In the girls 13 year old division, 3000M race, Emerita (Emmy) Strathmeyer placed third with a time of 11:56 and Ainsley Tims placed fourth with a time of 12:00 flat. In the 1500M run, Ainsley placed fifth with a time of 5:27 and Emmy placed 6th with a time of 5:28. 

In the girls 12 year division, Mayden Mitchell placed first in the 3000M run with a time 11:19, and first in the 1500M with a time of 5:21. She also placed second in the 800M race with a 2:35.

Mach 1 had one Region 19 qualifier in the girls 12 year old division, Micah Neal. She got second place in the 3000M with a time of 10:59. In the 1500M, she placed third with a time of 5:07 and she placed fifth in the 800M with a time of 2:33. Micah has the second fastest qualifying time in the 3000M, going into the AAU National Meet. 

Josh Fink placed first in the boys 11 year old division 1500M Racewalk with a time of 9:14 earning him Regional Champ status and he placed sixth in the 1500M run with a time of 5:53.

“I’m grateful for this season, giving the athletes an opportunity to run since they didn’t get to compete last summer due to COVID, Mach 1 Head Coach Lupe Torres said. “I’m really proud of our 14 athletes that are going to Nationals because they have put in the hard work and now we get to see their rewards.”

“I’m very impressed with these athletes,” Mach 1 Coach Matt Mitchell said. “They stepped up in a big way with their performances at Regionals. This season we’ve had the opportunity to coach a lot of new athletes and their results were stellar, with a plethora of PRs.”

The Junior Olympics competition kicks off on July 31 at Humble High School in Humble, Texas.

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