Apex PRD youth track coaches bring passion, fun-loving attitude to program

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Every summer, the youth track program at Apex Park and Recreation District routinely draws at least 300 youth participants from ages 3 to 16. The 24 coaches for the summer 2015 program have a boatload of enthusiasm for their sport, and it definitely spills over onto their students. A group of a half-dozen coaches met after practice one warm July morning to offer their tips for a fun and active summer.

The most important offering they have is their love for the activity. “We are very passionate and want to inspire kids to be part of future generations of runners,” said several coaches. They agreed with one coach’s advice to be as silly as possible. “When we get out there and embarrass ourselves, the kids can relax a little and feel more self-confident.”

Kids often are unsure of themselves and struggle to meet their own self-imposed tough standards, the group said. That’s why the coaches try to emphasize successes and build skills so kids return to the sport in school or during the following summer. “Other goals are getting everyone to participate, and above all we want them to have fun and forget they are running and getting exercise.”

The kids aren’t the only ones getting exercise – the coaching staff believes in teaching by example. “We do everything with them – for the little ones, we just emphasize having fun and running straight, and with the older ones, we focus a little more on technique.”

This year has been a standout when it comes to theme days, they said – rock star, dance party, superhero and water fight days were among the favorites.

All the coaches trade off working with all different ages to vary the routine. The age groups are divided into Mini-Tracksters for ages 3-6 and youth track for ages 7-16.

One coach has been in the track program from age 3, and many others were participants in the youth program, and in their high school and college track programs also. Most of them are still in their teens and yet they bring multiple years’ experience to the job they return to every summer. Best of all, they are eager to share their knowledge, passion and companionship with their students every summer.

Thanks to summer 2015 coaches — Jack Auslen, Caroline Braun, Chase Braun, Christine Emory, Sahara Fredricks, Kiki Grimes, Joseph Horen, Christina Klumph, Abby Kostelecky, Tyler Lamirato, Megan McNamara (head coach), Riley McNamara, Morgan Nishida, Claire Pauley, Cooper Pauley, Guy Pauley, Cassandra Porter, Brenden Ragland, Max Sevcik, Spencer Svejcar, Sydney Svejcar, Erin Thomas, Alicia Thompson, Savannah Wiman — for bringing active fun to hundreds of runners!