Will Heyward was acting as a personal trainer to a couple of Seguin track athletes, Kyra Nunez and Audriana Rodriguez, this spring, when one of the parents came to him with an idea.
“I was training them for speed and strength, and it just so happened that some of the other girls I was training were the same age,” Hayward said. “The parents came to me and suggested it. They all trained together, so we ended up putting the team together.”
That idea blossomed into Hayward forming the Everyday Phenom Track Team this year.
Nunez was a district champion in the 100 meters, while Rodriguez was part of the district champion 4X100 relay team at Briesemeister Middle School.
Pairing them with a couple of runners from San Marcos, Mikayla Ibarra and Qiera Green, Heyward put together a 14-year-old 4X100 team.
While they had been practicing up to four times a week in San Marcos, they’ve run in competition just three times this season.
The girls finished second at last month’s Region 19 National Qualifier Meet, earning them an entry to the AAU Junior Olympics, scheduled for Aug. 1-3 in Greensboro, North Carolina. While they didn’t win at the first meet this year, they bounced back to win the South Texas District qualifier to get to the District 19 meet.
The race at the District 19 meet was tight throughout, as the team went back and forth with the eventual winner, San Antonio Heat Track Club, before finishing second in a time of 51.96. San Antonio ran a 50.51 to win the race.
“Kyra had a strong start, Audriana held it and Qiera and Mikayla finished well,” Hayward said. “We could have been a little bit faster with the handoffs, which kind of put us back a little bit.”
Hayward is hoping the team can improve the handoffs enough to make the final heat at the Junior Olympics.
“We’re hoping to place and make the finals,” he said. “The top eight teams in the finals get a medal.”
While he’s been seeing improvement in the three meets they have competed in, he believes the team can run even faster.
“We’ll need to shave a couple of seconds off our time,” Hayward said. He said the top teams he’s seen are running just under :50 seconds for the relay.
“We’re still getting in shape, the other teams have run a bunch more meets than we have, so we’re still getting faster,” Hayward said.
That he’s got a team qualified in just the first year has been special for Heyward.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “You see the girls work so hard — they don’t even see sometimes what they are capable of doing and then all of the sudden we’re winning.
“It’s just fun to watch them grow.”
A gofundme page has been set up to help with the cost of going to the Junior Olympics. Heyward said he was in the process of setting up a non-profit for the team.
The team is planning on taking a couple of coaches and two alternates to the meet.
“We’ve had a lot of family support, so it’s gone pretty good so far,” Heyward said.
The page has raised nearly $700 for the trip in about three weeks. To help the team go to www.gofundme.com/phenom-track-club.
Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org