Several Spring Branch ISD Track and Field athletes represented our community in August by qualifying to attend the 2019 AAU Junior Olympic Games in Greensboro, North Carolina. These runners and jumpers train with FPR (Family Point Resource) Speed, a Youth Track Team/Club comprised of SBISD elementary, middle and high school students.
More than 170 SBISD students from 24 campuses are currently involved in FPR Speed in the Spring Branch area. Most students in the program are outstanding runners recommended to the program by their health fitness teachers.
The AAU Games were held at North Carolina A & T University, playing host to more than 13,000 athletes from all over the United States. This season, 27 FPR Speed athletes qualified to participate in the Junior Olympics and seven earned the title of All-American (finished in their sport in the top eight in the nation). Click here to see a list of SBISD competitors at the Junior Olympic Games.
FPR Speed strives to expose the community youth to unforgettable opportunities beyond the bounds of the sport. Four student athletes in the August 2019 contingent experienced their first plane trip on the way to the Games.
The athletes’ time in Greensboro also mirrored the college experience: they stayed with roommates on the campus and were responsible to follow an hour-to-hour activity schedule throughout the competition week. This experience afforded them the opportunity to become more independent and self-sufficient, while allowing for self-discovery.
FPR Speed head coach, Brandon Stribling, stated the purpose of the Spring Branch area club is to bridge the gaps in the community by connecting youth who have a love of running.
“In this sport, you don’t know who has money or not,” said Stribling. “Everyone is just here to run. Friendships are formed among the athletes. It’s like a family.”
Assistant coaches include a cadre of 13 parents who are themselves competitive runners (and often run along with the students during practices).
There is a fee to participate in the FPR Speed club, and scholarships are available so anyone who wants to run can register. Registration takes place most of the year, except during the summer. Students new to the program should register by January to be ready for summer competitions.
Coach Stribling also conducts college readiness workshops during school breaks to get graduating athletes in the club ready for recruitment. He covers SAT prep and information about financial aid, scholarships and the NCAA (National College Athletic Association).
Athletes from other sports, such as soccer, benefit from participating in FPR Speed. SBISD middle and high school coaches are pleased when athletes train with the club, knowing their school teams will have speed and strength advantages over competitors.
“Speed is the key to all sports,” said Stribling.
By Becky Wuerth, SBISD Communications