In only their first season of competition, the Hood County Flyers proved themselves to be formidable competition for even the most established programs.
They competed in three regular-season meets and won 87 medals. Then, they qualified 10 athletes from regionals to the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Games of Texas in Corpus Christi.
And while none of the state competitors medaled, there were some impressive performances, led by J.J. Lee’s fifth-place finish in the Boys 10-Under high jump.
“Half of our regional entries qualified for state, that says a lot,” said Wade Beard, coach and founder of the Flyers.
“The competition at state was fierce. Being this is the best of the best in the great state of Texas, I am very impressed with our effort.”
Beard said the idea for the Flyers came from wanting a local team on which youngsters, including his own, could participate. He said it didn’t long to realize he wasn’t alone in his thinking.
“I was mainly worried about them sitting around playing video games,” he said. “I wanted to get them outside.
“We get out to that first practice, and I’m hoping 20 kids will show up. We ended up with 63 signing up.”
At their first meet in Comanche, the Flyers won 40 medals, turning a few heads.
“We went up there and mixed them up,” said Beard. “They were saying, ‘Whos’s this little club?’
“Then, at Mineral Wells we show up strong (26 medals), and at Little Elm we show up again (21 medals).
“Every week I’m tracking my kids’ personal records, and each week they’re getting better and better.”
Beard, who also started the Tolar Youth Athletic Association and later turned it over to Dave Brister, knows a thing or two about building youth programs. He said he has much in the plans for the Flyers.
“I’m hoping to get more coaches (he got a lot of help from Tolar High coach Gregg Lee this season). Also, I want to start a parent organization,” he said.
“I want us to make this something where everybody can be a part. This is Hood County’s track team.”
And he hopes trips to the TAAF Games of Texas will become an annual occurrence.
“They all had a great time down there in Corpus Christi,” he said. “Next year it will be in College Station. We are already looking forward to it.”
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Category: Sports Archived