The average cost to travel per athlete is $15,000
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Westside Track Club is less than a week away from competing against some of the top athletes in the nation, but their talent on the track won’t be the only thing getting them to the AAU Junior Olympics.
What You Need To Know
- Westside Track Club was founded in 1982
- 54 athletes have qualified for the 2021 AAU Junior Olympics
- The club has produced more national champions than any other track team in Louisville
- The AAU Junior Olympics will take place in Houston, Texas from July 28 – August 7
Since 1982, the Westside Track Club has been one of the nation’s leading youth track and field programs for athletes ranging from 7 to 18 years old. Between the coaching staff, they have over 100 years of combined experience.
“They genuinely love track. Typically on an AAU team you don’t really see kids that are willing to show up 5 days a week, 4 days a week, wherever the case may be, to really show up here, get better at their craft, do whatever it takes to get to that next level,” said Devin Gentry, coach for the Westside Track Club.
Over the years, the Westside Track Club has developed several national champions and hope to have even more as 54 of their athletes have earned the ultimate prize – qualifying for the AAU Junior Olympics.
For Darius Brown, already a state champion in the 110-meter hurdles, he hopes to bring home even more hardware this summer.
“Technically I’ve been training for four years now, hurdling. I started freshman year,” Brown said. “I’ve never stopped and it’s all led to this moment. I want to come back with a national championship, not just a state championship but a national championship.”
The club has managed to have more than 30 AAU and USATF medalists, and Da’Lani Brown hopes this is her opportunity to prove herself.
“Every year of the junior olympics, I’ve made it on the podium except two years ago. But I promise I feel like I’m going to go this year because I’ve worked really hard,” Brown said.
The club has produced more national champions than any other track team in Louisville, but in order to get to the big stage, the average cost to travel per athlete is around $1,500. That can be a huge financial hurdle.
“They work together to raise money, we’ve done car washes, we’ve done fish fries, we shake the buckets all to earn money to get where they want to go. If you look at what they’re doing out here, they work so hard. It’s the support, it’s the family, it’s the drive, it’s the goals, it’s everything a coach really wants to have in a team,” said Teresa Saborsky, throws coach for Westside Track Club.
The club has met and exceeded its initial goal of $30,000, helping athletes as young as 7 years old reach their dreams of crossing the finish line.
“People around the community have really seen the positive impact that Westside has had on the community for a long time,” Gentry said. “We’ve had some really big donors step up and take on the financial load that is for Westside to allow the kids to make sure they have the opportunity so every kid can go out there and compete cause you don’t really know when you’ll get that chance again.”
Dr. Mark Lynn recently donated $25,000 to help the Westside Track Club get to Houston, Texas. The AAU Junior Olympics are set to take place July 28 – August 7.