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Memorial runner Ayden Chatman heading to Junior Olympics

Memorial sophomore Ayden Chatman knows the discipline it takes to get better on the track. He practices for multiple hours a day, lifting weights and working on form.

For Chatman, it also helps with how he sees himself. His upcoming trip to the Junior Olympics in Houston will help with that, he said.

“It always feels good when you see yourself progress, because it is proof that you are getting better,” Chatman said. “…The biggest challenge of running is being mentally strong. Your body can be trained to get better, but if you are not strong in your mind, you are not going to get anywhere. It makes me feel good about myself. My self esteem isn’t very good, so when I make it for something like this, it makes me believe I am as good as I need to be.”

During his first meet of his freshman year, Chatman ran a 2:12 in the 800-meter race. After months of hard work, the incoming sophomore recorded a 1:59, which was good enough for seventh place at the AAU Regional Meet.

He says his goal is to get that time down to a sub 1:55.

Chatman said he is ready for the next track season and believes his workouts at Golden Triangle Track Club are helping.

Jacoby Berry started the organization this year due to the dearth of summer track programs like the ones he participated in when he was younger.

“The reason that we started the organization was to find a way to give these kids the opportunity to get better,” Berry said. “There was a time we had track teams rolling every summer. I was a member of the Port Arthur Track Club. We just ran every summer. That helped us get better at our craft. A lot of people think that talent is just there and you don’t have to practice. You can’t do that with track. You have to go out there and put the work in.”

Berry is extremely proud of his athletes who will compete in Houston.

“(Chatman) is one of these kids that you don’t have to tell to practice,” Berry said. “He is going to do what he has to do. He is going soak in everything you say and implement the strategy that you give him. Once it all came together, it is special. It was his goal to break that two-minute mark and I am happy he completed one of his goals for the season.”

The Junior Olympics will be held in Houston Aug. 1-7.