By Hector Gonzalez
Pompano, FL- As the new season approaches Pompano Xpress Track Club will have their home back.
Last year they bounced around from park-to-park, just to hold their practice sessions. Blanche Ely high school – the school former NBA basketball player Eddie Jones graduated from- was under construction.
“We were going to football fields, schools and other parks just to practice,” coach Joe Ballard said, ” That’s was the difficult part, it’s not the same teaching the kids how to run in the lane – when they are practicing on grass.”
With the new season here, so far so good.
This past Saturday at the Northwest Xpress Invitational event held in Moore Park, Allapattah, his club left in with a good impression. In the 9-10 year old group Ja’leah William earned first place in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4×100 meter races. 8-year-old Zaria Blake and youth group Chyna Staton also came in first.
” I was very much impressed yesterday with my kids performance. You can see how having your own practice facility changes things,” Ballard said.
Coach Ballard mentioned it was frustrating for his team last year at times, being without a place they could call home. He emphasized how obstacles could affect them in life, and stressed the importance of not giving up off-and-on the track.
“I kept telling them to look for alternatives to reach our goals, and to stay focus,” Ballard said.
Returning in the girls’ group is Williams in the Bantan, Sub-Bantan will be Blake, and in the 11-12 midget age group is Jackalyn Matthews, anchoring the 13-14 year-olds’ youth group will be Staton.
Pompano will be adding some fresh new faces to their team for the boys : Joey, Xavier and Andre will be racing in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4×100 meters’ for Ballard.
His 15-year-old daughter Joi Ballard will be helping her father by running in the 4×100 meters, 200 meters and 4×400 meters.
During Memorial Weekend last year at the 5th annual- Mark Trail Invitation – Pompano Xpress ran away with first place awards for both of their boys & girls.
As they await for basketball season to wrap up, Ballard will pay special attention to his Pee-Wee group made up of 6-year-old Javarri Williams, and 5-year-old Ladarious Smith who make up the relay team. The kids came in third place yesterday after Smith – fell uncontested- falling out-of-first place.
With a new home comes new hope for Pompano Xpress to find alternative ways to reach their goals.
“We got a promising group this year, I teach them the importance of academics first in order to keep them off the streets and busy doing something positive,” Ballard said.