Winning isn't anything new to Worldwide TC, the Covington AAU track and field program.
So, it wasn't really a surprise when the group of star athletes returned home June 10 with a handful of medals after a weekend at the 2007 AAU Georgia District Championship at Savannah State University.
Overall, the team won 26 medals at the state-wide district meet (11 gold, nine silver and six copper). It was the first meet of the year for the group of athletes. In addition, 21 of 24 athletes qualified for the 2007 AAU Regional Championship beginning Friday at Chapman High School in South Carolina. (The regional meet is held to determine who will qualify for nationals.)
"I'm exceptionally proud of my team; you couldn't ask for anything better," said head coach Royce McKinney. "They were very excited; they're working hard and it's paying off. The coaches are coaching hard; we've got good trainers, and everyone is doing a good job."
Assisting McKinney this year are Julian Gardner, Clover Hubbard, Frankie Iverson, Tee Outlaw and Gary Tindall.
During the district meet, the young men's team finished first out of all the teams with a score of 99 points. (The second-place team had 67 points.)
"I really expected this because we've been training very hard," said Anthony Agbaere. "I think we could have done better, but I'm glad that we came out with this (many) medals."
For the youth boys, all of the athletes qualified for the region meet. Reginald Gardner (Indian Creek) placed third in the discus throw, and he also qualified in the shot put event.
For the boys intermediate division, Reginald Juin (Heritage) won first place in the 100 meter dash (11.10 seconds) and third place in the 200 meter dash (22.30 seconds). He qualified for the region meet in three events (100m, 200m and 400m).
Julian Gardner (Eastside) won third place in the discus throw and shot put. Daneil Worrell (Eastside) won third place in the (young) men's high jump event. In addition, Jamario Parks (Eastside), Aaron Lagarde (Redan) and Worrell each qualified in jumps for the region meet.
"I wasn't satisfied with (my) performance; I'm looking to improve," admitted Lagarde. "I need to improve on everything, but hopefully I'll win first place at region."
Both (young) men's relay teams - A and B - qualified for the region meet in the (4 X 100). Team A won second place (41.50) in the 4 X 100 meter relay, which included Baron Brown (Miller Grove), Mike Echols Jr. (Eastside), Dominque Hubert (Eastside) and Jonathan Juin (Heritage).
"(Last) weekend was very exciting," said Brown, who has been running for nine years. "We worked hard together in practice. The heat was one factor that got to most of the athletes, but we were able to overcome (it) and still be successful."
Team B placed third (41.95) in the 4 X 100 meter relay, which included Agbaere (Redan), Darius Baker (Alcovy), Lagarde and Jamal Romeo (Eastside).
In the (young) men's 4 X 400 meter relay, Team A was first place (3:14.00). Each runner - Brown, Hubert, Jonathan Juin and Eric Pennie (Salem) - was awarded a gold medal. In addition, all four athletes qualified for the region open 400 meter dash.
The 4 X 800 meter relay team won second place, which included Agbaere, Charles Jones (Eastside), Pennie and Romeo.
For the girls, Morgan Glover won third place during the 200 meter dash. Ashley Gardner won first place in the high jump event.
In the sub-midget division, Seanique Hubbard qualified for region in the 400 meter dash. Asia Palmer (Eastside) qualified for region in the 400 meter dash (intermediate). Faith Middlebrooks (Rockdale) qualified for region in the long jump and triple jump (young women).
"It was very exciting," said Middlebrooks. "Jumping is pretty hard, actually; it's all about technique."
Middlebrooks has been leaping for two years now, and will compete this fall as a freshman at the University of Georgia. She is looking forward to the regional championship, and hopes to break her previous records in the field.
"It's fun to win," said Middlebrooks, "but as long as my jumps are getting better compared to the times before, that's what I'm looking forward to the most."
For Worldwide, which includes approximately 40 athletes (boys and girls), this season marks its third year. The team practices every afternoon on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at the Eastside High School track and field.