Forty kids, ranging from first through 12th grade, attended the first day of the new Killeen ISD Track Camp at Leo Buckley Stadium.
“I think it’s safe to say, at one point or another, every coach out here ran and is a product of a Killeen ISD school,” said Rachel Hood, Harker Heights’ head track coach. “Most of us have ran track, so really this is our way of giving back.
“And then coming together as all of the high schools, kids can see that we’re rivals when we’re in season but we really work to support each other, even at the state meet. If athletes make it from different schools, we’re all there cheering and supporting each other.”
A majority of the kids in attendance Monday afternoon were elementary school students, with a handful of middle school and high school athletes.
“The best time to teach them is when they’re young,” Hood said, “Because they still have all the energy in the world and they’re like little sponges. They suck all the information in.
“As a high school coach, sometimes it’s easier to teach them correct the first time when they’re young than trying to correct their technique later.”
Former student-athletes from all four high schools were out to demonstrate the proper mechanics the various coaches shared, with the first day mainly focused on proper stretching and running techniques.
“Each school has a different event,” Kangaroos head track coach Gregory Russell explained, noting the Killeen coaches focused on warm-up drills and the high jump Monday. “We’re going to rotate them every 20 minutes and then we told them when we get to the speciality area, they’ll go to where they’re interested.”
Monday’s schedule included focus groups for the high jump, distance running and long jump.
With a history of success in track and field events, including multiple state qualifiers and a state champion in the triple jump from Ellison last month, the four coaches were looking forward to hosting the camp, the first of its kind in the Killeen area.
“I think when we first decided we were going to come together to do it we were excited to focus on the mechanics of running,” Hood said. “Because if you think about it, running is the foundation for every sport — basketball, football, soccer, track.
“So what you see out here is not just track runners, but athletes from every different sport, and it’s really just showing them the basic mechanics.”
Although there are various sport-specific skill camps around Killeen ISD for kids, all the coaches could were glad to see such a strong turnout.
“It’s our first year,” Russell said. “So we’ll sit down and talk — What was good about it? What do we need to add to it? — so we can improve it in the upcoming years.”
The three-day camp continues this afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m. and ends on Wednesday afternoon.
Walk-up registration is still being accepted for those interested in participating today or Wednesday.