By Tony McCray
The Golden Elite Track Club, an all volunteer, faith-based non-profit youth track club is on its way to the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Detroit, Michigan with star athletes within their own ranks. Will Smith is an 11 year old track athlete holding the 100 meter dash record in Florida and also the Shot Put leader in the State of Florida. In addition, Ameer Ruston holds the #1 position in the Turbo Javelin competition in Florida and #5 in the nation. Then there is Lauren Porter who is #1 in the State in Penthaleon Competition. The club focuses on ages 4 to 18 with involvement of all socio-economic groups in the region and participation of students throughout the Escambia County School District.Golden Elite athletes, ages 4-18, represent diverse socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds and attend various schools in our community.
The mission of the non-profit organization is to educate youth, and parents about the importance of positive results that come from leading a physically active, drug-free lifestyle while living with integrity. The goals are to instill respect in the life of its members, their character, and their conduct. The coaching leadership is led by Michael Etheridge, his wife Cheryl as the Community Relations Director, Rodney McGhee as the Co-Head Coach, and Dallas Glenn as the “Throwing Competition” Coach. The coaching team has an additional goal to expose their athletes to be at their very best mainly through a scientific approach into training. An example of a scientific method is the focus on “angles of release” of competition implements.
In an interview with the Gulf Coast Voice Coach Etheridge commented, “Our training is not just about getting something online and following someone else’s plan. It is about setting your own plan based on the individual athlete’s needs and working with the athlete as a whole to develop them in a safe, effective and age appropriate way. We focus on reducing childhood obesity, heart disease, diabetes and promote the importance of abstinence presenting a strategic holistic strategy of physical development.” Glen stated, “This is a very elite training group that has elevated many first year participants to a national level spotlight and that is not very easy achievement to accomplish.”