TOPEKA (KSNT) – Team United Stars has quite the record with Junior Olympians.
“I’m really curious about what’s going on and stuff, so yeah, pretty excited,” Junior Olympic qualifier Xavier Fisher said.
Seventy-five kids make up Team United Stars in Topeka.
“I like running,” Junior Olympic qualifier Kinsley Morning said.
“The 800m and running,” Junior Olympic qualifier Harper Cook added.
“My favorite part about track is having a great coach and running as hard as I can,” qualifier Cameron Cay said.
Almost 50 of them qualified for the regional finals in Arkansas. Now, 26 are going to the Junior Olympics in Houston.
“I qualified for high jump, and I do long jump,” Israel Edmonds said.
“Every year, we’re consistently taking anywhere between 20-30,” head coach Aaron Gardiner said. “I think the most we’ve ever qualified is 35. Some kids don’t get to qualify. They don’t get to experience that. That’s something that we help them look forward to as they continue to enjoy the sport and grow admiration in the sport.”
The top six kids in each region for that event go to the Junior Olympics. Only the top eight will medal.
“The kids worked so hard, and they deserve going,” assistant coach Abree Parker said. “I cannot wait.”
“I think it’s been really neat to see some of the kids that are qualifying, like this is their first year of track and qualifying for the Junior Olympics,” assistant coach April Ochs said.
“My coaches, like how they push me and stuff; make me always want to try better,” Junior Olympic qualifier Tenley Walder said.
The kids range from ages 6-16.
“I’m one of the top three fastest in the nation, so I’m just trying to get on the podium,” Tyrell Reed said.
All day July 24, Team United Stars will be holding a car wash at the Petro-Deli in North Topeka to fundraise travel expenses.
“It’ll allow us to take the kids on an outing,” Gardiner said. “They’ve got the Rocket Museum down there. The JFK Memorial, too.”
If you want to donate but can’t make it to the car wash, the team accepts donations on Venmo (@TeamUnitedStars) and CashApp ($TeamUnitedStars).
The Junior Olympics begin July 30.