Blistering the Hawaii Track
Loudoun Special Forces Track Club coach Julie Hayden
placed second in both the 800- and 1,500-meter run in the women's ages
45-and-older division recently at the 2005 USA Masters Outdoor Track and
Field Championships in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hayden was also a member of two
relay teams (4x400m and 4x800m) that won gold at the championships.
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McLaughlin takes Pride in his running
Optimism is high at Heritage High School as the start of
the fall cross country season looms closer.
Coach Matt Oblas has plenty of impressive runners to enter into races this
fall, including newcomer Nick McLaughlin.
McLaughlin, a multisport standout at Leesburg Christian School in his freshman
and sophomore years, is now focusing solely on running after competing
favorably in his age group at the national level as a member of the Loudoun
Special Forces Track Club the past two years.
a college scholarship through track and field his top priority, McLaughlin is
attending Heritage as a junior.
“It's going to be a lot bigger,” said McLaughlin about his new school.
“The kids have fun there and the coaches are outstanding. I'm really
McLaughlin completed the 1,500-meter run in 4 minutes, 16.62 seconds to place
17th in the ages 15-16 division at the USA Track and Field Championships in
Indianapolis July 25-29.
He has already made a strong impression on his new high school coach. Oblas
expects McLaughlin will pair up with junior Dominick Kroupa and senior Jayme
Maddox to give the Pride a solid top three this fall.
“Nick is a hard worker,” stated Oblas. “He is definitely going to be a
McLaughlin credits his coach with Special Forces, Julie Hayden, for helping
him take his running to the next level.
“She has been a really big help to me,” he said. “She has really been
the one that has kept me going.”
Hayden is excited to see how McLaughlin fares in high school competition this
“He is physically very strong and he is also a great competitor,” said
Hayden. “When it comes to a big race, he can usually produce it.”
Nick Savage, co-founder of Loudoun Special Forces, echoes Hayden's sentiments
"He's one of the most fiery competitors and gifted athletes we've had in
our seven years,” said Savage. “Nick will attack the track. He has the
speed and the tools to move on to the collegiate level."
McLaughlin will run in his first cross country event Saturday when Heritage
begins the season at the Great Meadow Invitational.
He also plans to compete in indoor track over the winter and is really looking
forward to the outdoor track season in the spring.
“Track is definitely my thing,” said McLaughlin, who set a goal of getting
his 1,600-meter run time under 4:20 this year. “I'm doing cross country to
keep in shape and to keep running year-round.”
Track club steadily grows in numbers
the club has grown from four members in its initial year to 110 participants
currently, it's safe to say the idea has caught on.
“We needed something that was not overly organized to keep in touch with the
families and kids,” said Savage. “Our motto is 'Keep the fun in
excellence.' If you believe in what you are doing, good things are going to
Special Forces trains kids ages 7-18 to compete in regional, state and
national track and field events throughout the year. The organization features
10 coaches and offers training to parents.
“The club really helps build relationships that last,” said Carla
Anderson, who helps the club with marketing. Her son, 13-year-old Michael
Clarkson, has been with Special Forces for five years.
“We really, really try to focus on the team aspect,” continued Anderson,
“even though track is one of the most individualized sports.”
As the name implies,
Forces Track Club has a close relationship with the military. Savage has
extensive partnerships with the military through his training and software
Some of the club’s participants have parents with military ties. Anderson
stated that it’s common for the kids in the club to exchange e-mails with
troops in Iraq.
“Special Forces requires supreme teamwork. It's an icon that summarizes
excellence,” stated Savage. “And spiritually, it takes special forces to
move you through life. It helps ordinary people do extraordinary things.”
While the club has produced many champions – 120 to be exact over the last
four years at the district, region, state and national level – Special
Forces welcomes runners of all skill levels.
“The part I like most is everyone leaves practice or an event feeling like
they've done their best,” said Anderson.
The club also welcomes participants of other sports looking to cross train.
“I have no problem if this grows to 300 kids,” said Savage. “We are
trying to create not just runners but also champions of life. I want to use
sports as a vehicle to get kids to believe in education.”
The track club is currently selling “Support Special Forces” car ribbons
and “Feel the Force” wristbands. Cost is $5 each, with half the proceeds
going to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides
scholarships for kids who lost parents at war.
E-mail Carla Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org
to purchase ribbons and wristbands. Visit http://www.sftrack.org
to learn more about the club.
Special Forces Track Club
Track: Loudoun Special Forces competed in the Glenarden Relays at the Prince
George's Sports Complex in Maryland on Saturday. More than 2,000 athletes
attended. Ben Walker led the pack with an outstanding performance in the
800-meter run. Sprinters and leapers Logan Smith, David McCarthy, Andre Best,
Alexander Callahan, Nick Fochtman, Michael Clarkson, James McCray, John McCray,
Anthony Cassine, Nia Hill, Tia Scottland, Brianna McNeely, Stephanie Love,
Karissa Love, Karen Cassine and Brianna Smith blazed on the track and in the
On Sunday, Loudoun Special Forces competed at Langley High School. Middle
distance coach Julie Hayden set an early example for her athletes by winning the
women’s mile race. Hayden's son, Andrew made it a family double, passing the
post first in the ages 11 and under event, with Austin Lombardi also finishing
strongly. In their first track meet for the club, brothers Abdiwahab and
Abdisamad Hassan went out fast in the open men’s mile, while personal records
were set by Ryan McPoland, Josh Klug and Laura Ortel.
Special Forces was well represented in the sprints by Justin Clark, Anthony and
Corey Gray, Nathan and Cody Williams, Kelly Kavanagh, Chad and Charlie Lehner,
Mary and Erin Donovan, Chase Williams, Alexander DeHaven, Vania Hunter, Janelle
Myers, Zach Turner, John Klees, Major Rogers, and Jordan and Nathan Barnette.
Four team moms also donned their track shoes for the 100-meter dash. Matt
Panzica ran a strong double in the 400 and 800, and Kate Poisson and mom Tania
Wiott were the Force’s multitalented athletes of the meet, tackling several