On June 17-18, MacCanDo Tenderloin Youth Track Club traveled to Tulare, CA for the 2011 Northern California National qualifiers. A total of 14 MacCanDo youth were qualified for the National Junior Olympics, which will be held in New Orleans this August.
It is the club’s third consecutive appearance at the National Junior Olympics, and this year marks the largest number of qualifiers in MacCanDo’s history. It is also their largest number of rookie athletes who competed and advanced.
Twelve year-old Enzo Villadolid, who joined the club just two months ago, competed in the 100m and 200m dash, the long jump for his age group, and qualified for all events. Enoch Pacheco, 13, who set a record this past April at his school, ran his 800m race as he and his coach thought he should, and won a ticket to the Nationals. Pacheco, a dedicated athlete, just missed his 400m qualification the day before and put “120%” into the 800m race. His mother, who toasted the win with a cold apple cider said, “If I did not believe that he would do it, this would not have happened.” Fourteen year-old Trevor Claros qualified for the long jump for his age group. Jacob Buenaventura-Smith, in his rookie year, won the bronze medal and was qualified for the 100m dash in his age group.
Among the MacCanDo veterans – A team captain, Christian Eik, 15, won all the field events, shot-put, javelin and discuss throw. Christian Eik’s brother, Dominic Eik, 14, became a three-time Junior Olympian, and qualified for the 4x100m relay.
Another veteran, girl’s team captain Lindsey Chen, 14, swept her three throwing events (shot-put, discus and javelin throw), won a gold, silver and bronze, and became a two-time Junior Olympian. A relay team’s lead-off man, Alex Turk, 14, qualified for the 4x100m relay and long jump and also became a two-time Junior Olympian. Turk broke stagger and became the first man to hand off the baton.
Enrique Alvarado-Lobo, 11, an 80m hurdler, coached by Coach Robert for a solid year, made his dream come true this year. Enrique joined the team a year ago but could not travel to last year’s National qualifier because he had not trained enough. It was very impressive to see his parents quietly witness their son’s hard work being paid off.
Other MacCanDo veterans included Ariana Garth, 10, who snatched two golds in the shot-put and discus throw. Her sister Lauren Tate, 12, also qualified for all throwing events. DeVonte’ Tarrance, the first MacCanDo sprinter who competed at the regional championship in 2008, made a comeback and will be on his way to his first National Junior Olympic games as a part of 4x100m relay team.
The MacCanDo team ranked 14th with 136 points among the 35 teams participating in the 2011 Northern California National Qualifiers meet, the club’s best ranking in three years of appearance.
Last October, MacCanDo Tenderloin Youth Track Club had set as a goal, a repeat trip to the National Junior Olympics. While the club is undergoing a difficult financial challenge, MacCanDo parents and athletes were determined that the team achieves this goal. Everyone worked hard; the coaches believed that “we can do it,” and we did it. The qualifiers will continue practicing until they fly out to New Orleans at the end of July.
The club is going to schedule a several fundraisers in July to raise travel funds for the team. For more information, please contact (510) 375-2380 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.