Georgetown families can be thankful for the selflessness of coaches who give their time in many diverse forms for the sake of others. Meet Matt and Leslie Walker and their assistant coach, Grover Moore, in the spotlight with GT Speed, a free track club for male and female students, ages 8 to 18.
Coach Walker explains, “Our mission is to encourage kids to use track and field as a vehicle to learn determination, competition, and other skills they’ll need in their adult life. Our practices are hard, but its not just about track.” Leslie adds, “Track is a hard sport. It takes a lot of mental toughness. Matt wants kids to push themselves and always try their hardest.” And they do; evident by the amount of water being consumed, while the athletes took a break to catch their breath.
THE STARTING LINE
The Walkers moved to Georgetown in 2014. “We love it here,” Matt shares, as he places hurdles on the track while his runners stretch in the background, getting ready for the jumps that help them with their foot strike. Coach Moore, who has a background in track and football, has already urged them—hands cupped—to push themselves around the track to warm up. The goal on this day is to work everyone to improve their sprinting abilities.
Coach Walker spent his younger days competing in track in the El Paso PaceSetters, but found no similar opportunities in Georgetown for kids to enjoy the fun. He was eager to provide the learning experiences that come from the disciplines of training for competition, so he and Leslie, a third-grade teacher at Frost Elementary, decided to start a club themselves. With six kids in their own house, the Walkers had a pretty good team right off the starting block and GISD has allowed them the use of tracks and facilities at district schools for the sportsmanship-focused club idea.
JOIN THE TEAM
Coach Walker is pleased to report consistent growth and success in the club’s members. They regularly qualify to go to the District and Regional competitions of the Amateur Athletic Union, a national-level track club organization. Club participation is free and open to all students in the Georgetown area. There are fees associated with travel and some competition, but the Walkers make good use of social media and a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses.
Matt says, “Every season, runners who can’t afford the fees of other clubs in the area, can join GT Speed. This is what makes this track club unique and special. Anyone who’d like to help out with expenses of athletes going to Houston, can visit us on Facebook for donation details.”