On a late afternoon in East Monroe, you’ll see dozens of young athletes doing various skills and drills, during the heat of June. It’s all in preparation of facing the best athletes in the nation this weekend.
“Am I nervous? No sir. Not really. Well, sorta a little bit, ” says Chase Johnson.
The Mike McDaniel led Ultimate Performance track team is bound for Austin on Saturday. They are set to compete against, at least, 500 of the top athletes in Texas.
“Got some good runners to run beside, ” Johnson continues. “And, I can push them on like they pushed me. Just kind of like a normal team.”
The spread of COVID-19 has not slowed anyone down. It’s made them train harder.
“I usually to have a great mentality with it, ” says Jayce Wimbish. “Don’t let my brain get the better of me and say, ‘Stop! Don’t! Keep on going.’ Listen to my heart and say, ‘Go!'”
So far in 2020, many of these athletes have posted impressive numbers.
“I’m like in the high five minutes, or like the low five minutes, ” says Johnson.
“In the mile, my record this year is 4.51, ” says Wimbish.
For the first time in five years, Riverfield Academy alum Haley Saulsberry won’t be taking part in any events. Instead the ULL signee is getting ready for her freshman year. This weekend, she’s serving as a cheerleader.
“It’s given me an opportunity to show people what you need to do and the way you need to go at it, ” says Saulsberry. “So, it’s been nice.”
Regardless of what happens this weekend, the members of Ultimate Performance Track will always support each other.
“I’ve just been like ‘Got to get better on this next one. Train harder, train harder.’ And, then I’ll reach a goal, ” says Wimbish. “I’ll set another one. So, that’s what my coaches have always taught me. Coach [Mike] McDaniel has taught me, once you’ve reached that goal, set another one.”