There are a lot of complaints about a lack of things to do for youth, but I am here to say that this notion is an absolute lie. Anyone who takes a moment to observe the activities of the several youth track institutions that exist in Minnesota understands that there is too much “good” out there for children of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds to participate in.
The AAU State Youth Track Meet was recently held at Eagan High School. It was an important occurrence considering that the meet was not held last year. Difficulties with city schools and city controlled sports facilities forced the track meet to the suburbs, and Eagan High School should be commended for its outreach to host such an important event. Additionally, the producers of the meet should be commended for such a well-organized production. Operating a track meet is not easy at all, and thus the community should recognize that there is a solid, intelligent, group of community leaders behind it all.
Despite the year respite, the contingent of youth track teams continues to grow at a steady pace. The population of the state meet showed the promise of the great vision that the many adult leaders feel is possible here in Minnesota. States such as California, Florida, Texas, and even smaller neighbors such as Iowa and Nebraska host meets with floods of children. The great part about track is that all the kids get to participate. Oh trust, track coaches will find something for your child to do. In addition to the powerhouse track institutions of Track Minnesota, I.C.A.A. Breeze, and Northstar Track Club, also in attendance were teams from Woodbury, and Hospitality House. As proof that nobody is left out of the opportunity to compete, there were also several youth that competed unattached to any organization.
In watching the many youth compete at the State Track Meet, my usual flood of youth development epiphanies surfaced and made me want to comb the streets of the cities and pick-up kids off of corners to take them somewhere they could be transformed. One observation is that of the faces you see on the youth participants in the accompanying pictures. There is no hiding in track. You’re by yourself on stage. The handsome young man DiAndre Boykin was nowhere near the lead in his race, but what you see is a successful child. His determination will either lead to him experiencing phenomenal improvement in the sport of track, or phenomenal achievement in the many other activities that interest him. DiAndre won, and will win. And the face that you see on each of those children is the exact expression that you want to see. In former NBA Championship coach Pat Riley’s book The Winner Within he states “Effort is the path to excellence.” What you see in the face of these youth is effort. And I can attest to the fact that showing effort, and undeterred dignity in defeat on a huge stage like of running track, is a powerful step to success.
There were several standout performances and it seemed like most children left with some form of recognition. Sidreshia Floyd, of Track Minnesota Elite (T.M.E.), turned in the overall fastest time in the girl’s 100meter and 200meter races. Nailah Hill, Morgan Stampley, LaBrishia Michael, Alejandra Redwing, and Cameron Downey of T.M.E. dominated the shot put and discus throwing events, and Track Minnesota led the way in the Girls relay events as well.
On the Boy’s side, I.C.A.A. Breeze heavily dominated with a deep group of strong young men among those names were: Troy Pollard (400m), Calvin Clark (100m, 200m, 400m), Keelon Brookins (100m, 200m, 400m), Jakobi Jackson (100m, 200m, 400m), Andrew Lewis (100m), among many more. In the boy’s throwing events heavy recognition goes to Hunter Downey who dominated all three of the throwing events in his particular youth division.
I strongly recommend that everyone go to www.wayzataresults.com to see the full results of the AAU Minnesota District Track meet, because there are simply too many names of too many awesome young people that need to be recognized. A big “congratulations” to all involved, and strong suggestion to participate to all others.