TRAVERSE CITY — Call it a reward.
After a strong high school track season, several Traverse City Central athletes will head to Greensboro, N.C., this week for the New Balance National Outdoor Championships at North Carolina A&T University.
“Our kids have worked so hard to do so well,” Central boys coach John Lober said. “We have five (boys) distance runners going and four are underclassmen. I wanted to give them a little nip of what it’s like at the next level. This meet is famous for getting kids from all over the country. It’s high-end.
“Sometimes you have to go and test the waters. I want them to be exposed to what that next level is all about.”
Altogether, nine boys — six who earned all-state honors — and two girls from Central will compete.
Running as The Snow Dogs Track Club will be three relay teams — the 4x110-meter high hurdle shuttle team of Alex Liggett, Aaron Taylor, Alex Hu and Josh Belcher; the 3,200 relay team of Anthony Berry, Kyle Dotterrer, Cam McAuliffe and Chris Brower; and the 4x1,600-meter relay team of Dotterrer, Berry, McAuliffe and Keefer Edwards.
The 3,200 relay team finished third in the Division 1 state finals with a school record 7:49.51.
“The winning team there will be around 7:40,” Lober said. “We ran that 7:49 without Berry. We feel we can run under 7:45 if we have a good day. That’s flying.”
Lober is anxious to see what the shuttle hurdle relay team can do, too.
“They’re looking strong,” he said.
Hu, an exchange student from China, had to change his travel plans so he could attend the meet.
“He said, ‘I’m flying out (of Traverse City) Sunday, but I want to go to the meet really bad,’” Lober said. “I said, ‘OK, can you fly out of Greensboro to Hong Kong?’ He goes online and the next thing I know, he says, ‘Coach, I’ve got it all set.’”