They went, they conquered, they returned with medals.
So it went for the Wayne Memorial-based Intensity Track Club at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics Aug. 2-8 at Norfolk State University in Virginia.
Five of nine Intensity athletes who competed in the age 17-18 division found their way onto the podium. Montel Hood (Wayne Memorial) and the 3,200-meter relay team of Hood, newcomer Zach Gray, Andrew Chant (Wayne) and Will Jackson (Hartland) garnered silver medals.
Intensity head coach Jamal Johnson, who also coaches the varsity boys track and field team at Wayne (where the AAU club practices), said Hood and the relay team missed winning gold medals by less than a second.
Hood clocked in at 1:54.71 in the 800 (the first-place winner finished in 1:54.11) while the 3,200-meter relay team finished with a mark of 8:01.92. Intensity was topped by Willingboro Track Club’s time of 8:00.96.
Westland John Glenn’s Caroline Mahalak placed seventh in the racewalk.
“This is a huge step for us as a team, seeing as we walked away empty handed in our first year last summer,” Johnson said. “For the people who didn’t medal, they still competed very well and had some great PRs.
“I was extremely proud of the entire team.”
Other team members included Anavia Battle (Wayne), Ledell O’Bryant (Wayne), Shiann Proffitt (John Glenn), Alyssa Johnson (Wayne) and assistant coach Jana Hughes.
The team was able to make the trek to Virginia with the help of a July 26 bowling fundraiser at Merri-Bowl Lanes in Livonia, a Go Fund Me website and ongoing bottle and can drive.