ELEMENTARY KIDS AND OLYMPIANS COME TOGETHER IN RACE WALK TOURNAMENT
The PSJA Independent School District Elementary School Coaches are teaching race walking classes with the assistance of the South Texas Walking Club. The classes, taught to all 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in the cities of Pharr, San Juan, and Alamo, are well underway.
Many members of the area’s outstanding youth organization, the South Texas Walking club have lent a helping hand. Providing assistance to the teachers are current college stars and USATF Junior Olympic Champions Ricardo and Roberto Vergara from Edinburg, and PSJA’s own five time High School All American, Alex Chavez. Several other very talented young men and women from across the country have also provided their expertise. These included new American Record holder in the Junior Men’s 20 Kilometer Race Walk, 16 year old Trevor Baron from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and Lauren Forgues from Maine, the bronze medalist in the junior women’s 10k at the 2007 IAAF Pan American Race Walk Cup.
A children’s race walking book written by Dr. Tom Eastler, father of 2008 Olympian Kevin Eastler provides the basis for the curriculum prepared by the University of Maine staff. The club, with the assistance of the PSJA’s professional staff, produced an instructional race walking DVD that features local PSJA students. And the local businesses have gotten involved. Several have purchased and loaned 6,500 of these books to all of PSJA elementary school children.
Several other schools and many clubs throughout the USA and other countries have inquired about the book, video and curriculum. An on-line animated version of the book is also available at
A PSJA Elementary School Race Walk Tournament is now being planned. Many of the children have elected to join the walking club’s afternoon 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. practices at the PSJA High School Track to further the training being received at their schools and to be prepared for the upcoming competitions. The top ten boys and the top ten girls in each of four age divisions from each of the districts twenty-six elementary schools will compete with their neighbor school on Saturday, March 7th for the right to represent their area at their North and South City Competitions on Sunday, March 8th. The top ten boys and top ten girl winners in each age bracket from the North and South Section of their city will then compete at their City Championship on Sunday, March 22nd.
The top ten boys and top ten girls in each age division from each of the three cities will then compete at the Tri-City Championship to be held on Sunday, March 29th beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Pharr Liberty Middle School.
Cheering on all these youngsters will be the USA’s top junior and open division race walkers in the country. This elite group of athletes, including many Olympians, will be in Pharr to compete in the USA’s National Team Selection Races earlier in the morning at Liberty Middle School. This competition starting at 7:15am, will select the USA squads that will challenge the top race walkers in North America, Central America and South America at the Americas Race Walk Championships to be held in El Salvador in April. In addition to a spot on the American team, $6,500 in prize money will be awarded.
These selection races are being held in Texas for the first time ever. The Pharr Chamber of Commerce and area businesses are sponsoring the event. Spectator areas to view all of the races and to obtain autographs afterward are planned for.
Parents are encouraged to get their children and themselves involved in Race Walking, a sport that is practically injury free and that requires only a pair of shorts, a good pair of shoes and the will to exercise to stay healthy and fit. You may call A.C. Jaime at 956.686.2337 or 956.821.6659, Gonzalo and Diana Flores at 956.787.5736 or 956.867.7510 or Ricardo Reybal at 956.994.1308 or 956.289.6691 for visit the following web site for further information