It’s become a local tradition in the summer.
As the temperature peaks, so too does the Mount Pleasant Track Club. Hundreds of East Cooper’s youth athletes match up against the state’s best on the track in the middle of June and return victorious with a records and championships in tow.
MPTC ran away with its 13th consecutive USA Track and Field (USATF) S.C. Junior Olympics championship last week at Eastside High in Taylors.
The local standouts finished 640 points ahead of runner-up The Storm of Columbia, winning eight of the 12 age divisions, capturing 29 individual championships and setting six state records.
“We’ve had a great season leading up to the regionals,” MPTC coach Tami Dennis said. “The kids have worked hard and set aggressive goals, whether it’s reaching for personal records, advancing to regionals and then ultimately the nationals.”
Five of MPTC’s six state records were set in the 13-14 year-old division. Wando freshman Chloe Berda set a new girls javelin record, while Ethan Cocco broke the boys mark. Zane Jackson set a new 3,000-meter record, Dillon McCarthy broke the pole vault record, and Aidan Richter, Luke Pauldine, Ben McElveen and Jack Carson teamed up to take down the 800-relay record. Liam Christensen, who won a high school national championship in June, set a new javelin state record in the 17-18 year-old division.
The top eight finishers in each event earned a bid to regionals to take on the best of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida July 7-10 in Spartanburg. The top five from regionals advance to the USATF Junior Olympic nationals July 25-31 in Sacramento, Calif. MPTC sent 46 athlete to nationals last year, returning with 11 All-American nods.
“Many of these athletes have competed at Nationals and know what it takes to be All-American,” Dennis said. “We’re excited about the next few weeks. It makes all the work we’ve done this season worth it.”
MPTC individual state champions
8U girls: Elle Cocco (Javelin)
8U boys: Alex Corley (Shot Put)
9-10 boys: Bo Jimenez (High Jump)
11-12 girls: Ginger Arnold (Javelin)
11-12 boys: Brendan Gomez (3000m), Gionte Lawrence (Shot Put), Troy Cocco (Javelin)
13-14 girls: Chloe Berda (1500m and Javelin), Addie McElveen (Pole Vault), Libby Ashworth (Triple Jump)
13-14 boys: Noah Ward (800m), Zane Jackson (1500m, 3000m), Max Livesay (High Jump), Dillon McCarthy (Pole Vault), Ethan Cocco (Discus, Javelin) 4x800 Relay: Noah Ward, Zane Jackson, Doug Carson, Andrew DeArellano, Mark Richter
15-16 girls: Emma Albano (Javelin)
15-16 boys: Aidan Richter (800, 1500), Elijah Bull (400m Hurdles), John Farrell (Shot Put), David Kowalchick (Discus), 4x800 Relay (Aidan Richter, Jack Carson, Ben McElveen, Luke Pauldine)
17-18 girls: Maggie Henderson (Javelin)
17-18 boys: Riley Goldberg (3000m), Liam Christensen (Javelin)