While Amber Redic runs track for Longview High School, and Aliyah Davis is a former standout at Spring Hill, they have been teammates this summer for the East Texas Youth Track Club. This gives them time to talk, and some conversations have led to looking to this fall, when Davis will begin her collegiate track career at Louisiana State University.
This provides Redic with some incentive.
“When Aliyah talks about LSU it’s really inspiring,” Redic said. “She’s from a small town like me, but if she can make it, I know I can.”
Redic said also knows she has work to do, some of it this week. She will be part of a group of 22 East Texas Youth Track Club members which will compete in the USA Track and Field Region 12 Junior Championships. The championships begin today and run through Sunday at the Terry and Linda Fuller Track and Field Complex on the campus of Texas Tech in Lubbock.
The club members will attempt to place in the top five of their respective divisions to qualify for the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships, which begin on July 23 at Morgan State University in Baltimore. Redic said qualifying for nationals is her primary goal, but if she can’t qualify, she would like to get her time in the 400 meters below 56 seconds. Redic, who was a Class 5A Region II qualifier in the 400 and as part of Longview’s 4 X 400-meter relay team, had a best time of 56.90 seconds this past spring.
Redic will also compete in the 200 in Lubbock, as will Davis, who was a three-time state qualifier this past spring, winning the Class 3A state title in the 100 meters. Redic said being around Davis makes her work on the mental aspect of her game.
Redic said she especially wants to work on controlling her nerves, which she admits sometimes gets the best of her before and during races.
“I get nervous before I run. I relax by listening to music. I’ll listen to Drake or Big Sean,” Redic said. “I do tense up in the middle of the race, but I can relax if I keep my find focused and keep thinking about my time.”
While Redic has an accomplished high-school career, she is not as experienced in USATF competition.
A veteran in that regard for the East Texas Youth Track Club is Autumn Horn, who will team with Makayla Malone, N’Kaye Pipkins and Haley Boyd in the 4 X 100-meter relay team in the Youth (13- and 14-year-old) girls competition. Horn, an eighth grader at Foster Middle School, competed in three events at regionals last year, earning a respectable ninth-place finish out of approximately 40 competitors in the 400 meters.
Horn said success at USATF regionals is more mental than physical.
“The key is your mindset,” Horn said. “You have to have a lot of heart too.”
Some club members will compete in USATF events that aren’t offered in UIL competition. Victoria Pierson, an eighth grader from Foster, will compete in the girls pentathlon.
Jordan Wallace, a sixth grader from Foster, will compete in more conventional throwing events in the discus and shot put, but he will also compete in the javelin. More specifically Wallace and some of his teammates will compete in the turbo javelin, which is made of plastic and has a rubber tip.
Wallace said he enjoys competing in the javelin, adding that the UIL is missing out by not offering it.
“I think the UIL should have the javelin. There’s no excuse,” Wallace said. “It works up your arm muscles. I sometimes play quarterback for my football teams. After throwing the javelin, I can throw footballs better.”