Sky’s the Limit Track Club is like a relay team looking for an anchor leg to push it through to the finish line.
The finish line in this scenario is the upcoming AAU Junior Olympic Games in Texas. The anchor leg will come in the form of additional donations that will assist the group of Capital Region runners and jumpers in their quest to get there.
“This is a great opportunity for these athletes,” said Sky’s the Limit Track Club coach and president Lisa Paparone. “Aside from the competition, they get to experience another part of the country. When we took a group to California in 2019, we went to the Golden Gate Bridge, saw the Pacific ocean, rode a trolley.”
The athletes, the oldest of them recent high school graduates, have already raised some funds and will generate more through car washes, a bottle drive and a gofundme page. Private donations can also be directed to Paparone at [email protected].
“We are doing everything possible to generate funds for the trip,” Paparone said.
The athletes who have qualified for the AAU Junior Olympic Games, to be held July 28 through August 7 at Turner Stadium in Humble, Texas, are Bashir Praileau (LJ, 110H, 100m) from Albany Academy; Abigail Wicks (400m) and Anna Jankovic (400H) from Averill Park; Leija Hrelja (1,500m), Fabien DeSilva Jr. (400, 4×400), Zaire Higgins (400, 4×400), Ben Ross (4×400), Savion Navedo (4×400), Jurgen Miller (4×400), Jordan Goddard (4×400) and Brandon Gordon (4×400) from Colonie; Alex Wheeler (LJ, TJ) from Columbia; Allison Flint (LJ, TJ) and Baden Seabury (100m, 4×100) from Ichabod Crane; Natalia Sawyer (100H) from Schalmont; Che Samuel (100m, 4×100), Deron Davis (4×100) and Shemar Delphin (4×100) from Schenectady; Ethan Ehrlich (4×400) from Shaker; and Kara Moran (LJ, TJ) from Stillwater.
While many of them got first-place awards at the Section II meets last month, there was no state competition afterward to advance to. Just like the spring of 2020, the state meet was called off due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If we had a state meet, these kids would be earning medals,” Paparone said. “They lost that opportunity. This is their opportunity.”
Paparone said the AAU showcase is an excellent vehicle for youngsters to get their names out there for college coaches looking to enhance their team rosters.
“College coaches look at these results,” Paparone said.
The AAU Junior Olympic Games is the largest national multi-sport event for youth in the United States, and, aside from track and field, includes such sports ranging from wrestling, swimming and karate to pickleball, baton twirling and jump rope.