Photo By Courtesy photo
Tejeda Middle School track and field athletes Chase Williams (from left), Jacob Williams, Jack Morgan and Alex Rodriguez are running the 4 x 100 relay in this weekend's AAU Junior Olympic National Games. These 13-year-old runners are ranked 15th in the nation in this event.

 

The Mayor's Fitness Council (MFC) announced recently the seven winners of its 2013 Healthy Heroes campaign, including Edison High School student Ivan Bermejo.

Bermejo was recognized in the youth peer health and fitness influence category. He helped overhaul the school lunch program to introduce more fruit and vegetable and whole-grain options on campus.

These Healthy Heroes will represent the MFC by promoting and encouraging healthy living in their communities, at home, and in their workplace.

Eight Tejeda Middle School track and field athletes qualified this summer to participate in the 2013 AAU Junior Olympic National Games. Most are traveling to run at the event being held Saturday through Aug. 3 at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Tejeda won its district track championship this past school year.

Qualifiers are Ian Anderson, pole vault; Rochelle Austin, 800- and 1,500-meter runs; Asiah Fox, 800 and 1,500 meters and 4-by-800 relay; and Sarah Rogers, 1,500 meters.

There's also a 4-by-100 relay team comprised of Jack MorganAlex Rodriguez, Chase Williams and Jacob Williams. Rodriguez also qualified individually in the 400 meter; and Jacob Williams in the 100 meters.

These athletes will compete against their most talented counterparts from 24 regions across all 50 states.

The Tejeda students' quest began at the South District qualifier meet in Corpus Christi, where their event performance gained them entry to the national qualifier meet.

Only the top four relay teams and top five finishers per event at the national qualifier win the coveted invitation to compete at the Junior Olympic Games.

“It's great. We get to go compete against kids from all over the country. I feel lucky,” said Rodriguez in a news release.

According to the Elite Racing website, the 13-year-old relay runners as a team are ranked 15th in the nation.

Austin, 11 and entering sixth grade, completed half a mile in 2:41 minutes; Rogers ran her 1,500 meters just under a mile in less than six minutes.

Most of these runners are coached privately by University of the Incarnate Word studentJesse Solano and Kenny Dirkson, a trainer at LifeTime Fitness. Dirkson and Solano also coach track and cross country at San Antonio Christian School, Solano's alma mater.

The two manage Celerity Performance, the name of the running club under which all the runners except Austin and Fox compete. Those two run with the S.A. Heat, although Fox trains with Solano during cross country season.

Last year was the first time any Celerity-trained athletes qualified for the Junior Olympic National Games. Two went in 2012; this year, eight.

“The vision for Celerity performance is to provide our athletes with advance training in track and field and cross country and to have our athletes become knowledgeable in their specific sport,” Solano said in the release.

“Our long-term goal is to prepare them for their upcoming seasons so they may be one of top athletes in the local school they attend,” Solano said.