Asheville Lightning Track and Field Team
The Asheville Lightning is one of the most respected and largest youth summer track and field teams in North Carolina, and every year has over 100 team members from Asheville and Western North Carolina. An official USA Track & Field Junior Olympics team, the Asheville Lightning participates in the national Junior Olympics track and field summer program that involves a series of meets culminating in a national championship.
The USATF Junior Olympics program has been in existence for over 40 years, and is a proving ground for many of our country's future Olympics and World Championship stars. The largest and most prestigious youth track and field program in the world, in the past five years, more than three million boys and girls have participated in Junior Olympics programs. Last year's National Championship meet, the largest track meet in the world, had over 6,000 young athletes in attendance.
Over 1500 young athletes from Western North Carolina have been members of the Asheville Lightning team since it was first formed in 1991 and many of these have been State, Regional and National Champions. Age participation is from 6 to 18, beginner to high school elite. Junior Olympics is an excellent opportunity for athletes to develop in an event that they are currently competing in or to try new events. For beginners, Junior Olympics is a great place to find out about track and field and to get started.
In order to encourage personal development and participation, especially in beginners, there are no qualifying standards either to join the team or to compete in the first of a graduated series of meets which culminate in the national championship. Competition is only against others in the same age group (6-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18) and all events of the international Olympics, including race walking, hammer throw, javelin and steeplechase, not typically offered in high school, are contested.
The coaching staff of the Asheville Lightning includes over 25 volunteer coaches and team administrators from area middle and high schools, as well as parents and college students who have track and field experience. Practices are held at A.C. Reynolds High School Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from 6:30-8:00 PM., beginning in April. The season ends after the National Championship meet, usually the last weekend in July. Membership includes both competition and practice-only.
For more information visit the team website at www.ashevillelightning.org.
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