COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The world has its eyes on the Olympic Games and the next generation of athletes is watching— dreaming of one day following in the footsteps of the world’s greatest athletes. As runners hit the track in Tokyo, the West Georgia Jets are hoping to be in their shoes one day.
The West Georgia Jets are a youth track team based in the Tri-City area and they compete in races all across the country. Head coach Marcus McGinty trains and mentors athletes like Adriana Alexander who, at only 8 years old, already has a national champion title under her belt. She has only been running for two years, but is already blazing a trail.
“It feels good,” Alexander said. “My coaches make me work hard and train.”
The team consists of runners ages 5 to 18, with varying skill levels. McGinty founded the team when his own children were pursuing track and field and has kept the program going for 11 years.
Runners for the West Georgia Jets have won national titles, state championships and All-American honors; some of the athletes are competing now at the Junior Olympics.
McGinty now has his eyes set on the big leagues.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have national champions but that next level, I couldn’t describe it in words,” McGinty said. “The reality that the next gold medalist might be right here out here on this track training right now is just an amazing feeling.”
Before Olympic dreams become a reality, Ryan Buckner and Tyree Woods say training on the Jets has helped prepare them for their upcoming high school track season. The Shaw High School athletes say the coaching staff have helped them expand their skill sets on the track.
“It’s good that we have coaches that push us and make sure we work hard every practice,” Woods said. “We get better and cut down our times.”
In 2028 we may see some competitors representing Columbus on the world’s biggest stage; only time will tell.
Any runners looking to join the team or any parents looking to get their child involved can find more information on the West Georgia Jets website.