Penn Hills youth track club builds skills, community
With their program’s 30th year looming, Chuck and Becci Carter continue to be gratified by assisting and developing youth athletes through the Penn Hills Eagles Track Club.
This year, the Penn Hills Eagles Track Club consists of 90 athletes. The team includes members of the Penn Hills community and also includes around 15% from surrounding Pittsburgh communities, such as Peters Township, Elizabeth, New Castle and Plum.
“We keep saying we’re building the kids that are coming in like a mustard seed. You have faith in the program, and they keep growing,” Chuck Carter said.
“We keep harvesting athletes. A lot of them play football, soccer and basketball. It’s not just track. You can see the benefits from the team and the program.”
The Penn Hills Eagles have been practicing every day since April and had conditioning before that. At this moment, Carter has the athletes in the endurance phase.
“We train them so they can carry their skill levels through high school and college. We teach the younger kids basic track and field drills until their coordination develops,” Chuck Carter said.
“As they get older, we start teaching different drills that they will have in high school. The older ones, we start teaching more of the college workouts like the endurance and speed workouts. We try to put them in competitions where they will compete against high-end athletes in different states.”
The Penn Hills Eagles Track Club hosted the USATF Three Rivers Youth Developmental Meet on June 1 at Penn Hills High School. A handful of athletes captured titles during the meet.
Roderick Armstrong (13-14-year-olds) won the 100- (12.18 seconds) and 200-meter (25.34). Miles Piersaint (11-12) won the shot put (8.08 meters) and discus (21.64). Moses Mitchell (8U) won the 800 (3:17.31) and 1,500 (6:29.55).
Antonio Pitts (15-16) won the 200 (23.20). Jamal Van Irvin (13-14) won the high jump (1.32m), and Jeremiah Davis (8U) won the shot put (6.68m).
On the girls side, Christen Van Wyk (17-18) won the 200 (32.21) and discus (20.66m). Julianna Daugherty (13-14) won the 200 (27.39) and 400 (1:03.21). Ariyana Van Irvin (9-10) won the 800 (2:53.06) and 1,500 (5:38.22).
Ry’Nique Durham (17-18) won the 400 (1:29.16), and Kylee Wheeler (8U) won the 400 (1:26.31).
The boys 15-16 400 relay and 8U 1,600 relay teams also won. The girls captured the 400 relay titles in the 11-12, 13-14 and 15-16 age groups. The girls 9-10 1,600 relay team also won.
“The kids are focused this year. They all get along. They talk to each other. We have great diversity, and we have different nationalities on our team. We have kids from South Africa, West Africa and Jamaica,” Chuck Carter said.
“Everyone is getting along. It will benefit our school system and our communities. No matter the negativity out there, we have a good thing going on here.”
The Penn Hills Eagles Track Club will participate in the Three Rivers Association championships June 22-23 at Slippery Rock, the USATF Youth Outdoors championship June 25-30 in Durham, N.C., and USATF Regional II championships July 11-14 at Slippery Rock.