Photo by Kevin M. Cox
The Mainland Jaguars Track Club 400-meter relay team of 7 year olds, from left, Kai Johnson, Errionn Brow, Julian Humphrey and Elliott Brow run Thursday at Sam Vitanza Stadium in Dickinson.
DICKINSON — The Mainland Jaguars are at it again, but this time, they’re bigger than ever before.
While the La Marque team annually sends a handful of qualifiers to the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships, this year, it had much more success. A whopping 18 athletes qualified for the national meet in Wichita, Kan., which runs Tuesday to July 31.
“This is a huge year for us, and it’s a great stepping stone for the program,” Jaguars head coach Marvin Welch said. “Our numbers were up, and I’m very excited about what the kids have accomplished.”
Headlining the group is a duo of athletes that had success at the high school level this past season. Recent Ball High graduate Tierny Foreman will compete in the long jump and triple jump at the national meet. Dickinson High’s Lauryn Caldwell, who had a tremendous freshman season ending at the state meet, will throw discus, shot put and javelin.
The Jaguars’ 400-meter relay team is ranked fifth in the nation and has a shot at a gold medal. The quartet of 7-year-olds — Julian Humphrey, Kai Johnson, Elliott Brow and Errionn Brow — also will compete in other events.
Koi Johnson, 10, will throw javelin and compete in the long jump, triathlon and high jump.
Taylor Singleton, 11, will compete in the long jump and high jump, and Crisstin Riley, 9, will run the 400 and throw the javelin.
London Robinson and Dymond Milburn will throw javelin, Katie Oliver will throw javelin and discus, Jasmine Spells will throw javelin and shot put, Allen Earnes will throw discus and shot put, and Donald Warnell will throw javelin.
Mike Welch will compete in the triathlon and high jump, Chris Welch will compete in the high jump, Kirk Collins will compete in the high jump, triathlon and 400, and Chris Marullo qualified in three events but suffered a knee injury and won’t compete.
“We’ve had incredible help from our assistant coaches and parents this season, and it has helped,” Welch said.
Traveling to the national meet has put a financial strain on some of the parents, and the Jaguars are hosting fundraisers to alleviate the costs. They will be outside of the Bay Colony H-E-B on FM 646 in League City from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, and donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 2081, Texas City, TX, 77592.