BEAUMONT, Texas — "I just wanted to try it out because they looked fun, and you know I'm here." Those are the words of incoming Hamshire-Fannett freshman John Everett Sanderson who is already on track to become the next superstar from the 409 in the world of track and field.
"I really didn't know the level of competition was going to be like or any of that until my first meet, then I knew it was the real deal. Those kids are really good. It's not like middle school."
After competing in the sport for only one year Sanderson recently qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics in the one hundred and two hundred meter hurdles.
"I'm very excited. I know it's going to be a lot of people. It's my first year. I've never done anything like it before. It's going to be fun."
East Chambers track and field coach Jared Mack saw potential in the young star early on, and wanted to use his knowledge of the sport to take Sanderson places beyond his wildest dreams. "I seen how good he was for a kid that had limited coaching, so I wanted to use some of my knowledge to help him get better and now we're here."
Training for the big event in North Carolina hasn't been easy for Sanderson, but Coach Mack believes in this young upstart's potential and is excited to see him compet against some of the very best in the nation. "I'm excited, but I'm more excited for him to get that experience because when I was young I experienced it a lot of times. Just for him, a first year kid from a small town like that, to go out there on the national scale and compete against the best, I'm real excited for him. I'm expecting him to go out there and do well. I know he's one of those kids, when his adrenaline gets pumping he performs better than he's capable of. I know he'll go out there and do well."
With the Junior Olympics just a few weeks away, Coach Mack has taught Sanderson the key to victory is more than about strength and speed. It's about the ability to focus on what's important and to block everything else out. "Just run your race. Don't think about anybody else. You're already there, just gotta run your race."