Track and field is a unique sport that has a series of different events, showcasing an individual’s skill set in running, throwing or jumping. Most track clubs and programs have an athlete or two who bear all the pressure to produce for the entire program. In upper Manhattan, however, a young group of talented athletes is turning heads and creating a great deal of excitement.
The Chelsea Greyhounds is a track and field club for young student athletes who are making big statements with the exceptional results from their meets. In a team that consists of 11 talented young individuals, seven of them will be competing in next week’s Junior Olympics.
Normally it is an accomplishment if a club can herald one, two or maybe even three athletes who are competing at the highest level, but to have seven is a testament to not only the hard work of the athletes but also head coach Ron Guialdo’s dedication to the job as well. He has put together a culturally diverse team, as athletes from China, Japan and Israel and of Spanish descent are members of the club.
Guialdo, now in his sixth year with the club, detailed how he was able to take steps to create a very talented club.
“We went to our first nationals about three years ago,” Guialdo said, “I couldn’t believe how fast the kids were running. That changed how we were training, and I took courses to help with the kids. The biggest thing was to go out there and get whooped. I stepped back and said wait a minute. We stopped attending smaller meets and started prepping more for the bigger ones so the kids wouldn’t burn out before nationals.”
The results at nationals three years ago have proved to be exactly what the team needed because they have improved drastically since. Guialdo realized that the club had to travel outside of the city to destinations such as South Jersey, Philadelphia and Maryland, where clubs are known to have exceptional runners in each of those areas. The idea was to be the best, you have to compete against the best.
The club has seven athletes competing in various events next week, including the 1,500-meter, 1,800-meter, 300-meter, 800-meter, 200-meter, 100-meter, 400-meter hurdles and 110-meter hurdles.
With the tournament starting Monday, the team is very eager for their first set of events Wednesday. No matter how the events turn out, the Chelsea Greyhounds have proved to be winners already. Even with all the success the team has garnered, there is always an opening for anyone who wishes to compete on the Manhattan-based club.
“They just have to sign up and be committed,” Guialdo said “We charge $45 a month, but we take everyone. If you are on the field everyday practicing, we won’t turn you down.”