KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a couple weeks, hundreds of track and field athletes from across the country will compete at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Houston.
Kansas City’s Blue Devils Club is sending 60.
“It’s definitely a big number. That’s just from our club. From the Kansas City area, we’ve got a lot of great teams that are going with us,” Blue Devils assistant coach Herb Martin said.
The Blue Devils have prepared for this moment for months. It’ll be their first trip for many young athletes, while others are more seasoned.
“The work they put in from day one. A lot of them have been working since the end of March. All the way through hot days, sometimes rainy days,” assistant coach Byron VonLeggett said.
“It’s very exciting because we all get a chance to bond together. It’s not like we’re all competing. We get to talk and hang out,” high jumper Taylor Bailey said.
The club is expecting to make a mark in several events, including its 4-by-100 meters 14-year-old boy’s relay team, which recently broke a regional record at its qualifying meet with a time of 44.73.
“We just have the mentality that we can just push ourselves to compete at that level. Just because in the Missouri area there is competition, but I feel like we can push ourselves more from those different teams.,” sprinter Jeremiah Kelley said.
The Kansas City area has its share of elite track and field athletes. The club hopes to keep showing that kids from this region can compete with the best in the country.
“It’s good to go in as a state that nobody knows, so that we can surprise everybody,” Kelley said.