Kevin Adkins, a local track coach with a desire to help Lamar County athletes be great and receive worthy recognition, brought his dream to life March 1. 

On that day, Adkins kicked off the first year of his new youth track program, the Paris Track Club, which currently has 60 male and female members ranging from ages 6 to 18 years from Paris, North Lamar, Chisum and Honey Grove school districts.

“In the beginning, I didn’t know how much success we would have, but I was excited to start this program,” Adkins said. “After seeing the way we competed in the first two invitational meets, I realized that these kids in northeast Texas could run a little bit and go compete in the Dallas area even at the age of 8, 9 and 10 years old all the way up through high school.”

The Paris Track Club athletes competed in four invitational meets in various places across the Lone Star State, which saw a majority of his track stars advance to the regional track meet, held July 6 at Pine Tree High School in Longview. To say his team was successful would be an understatement. Adkins and his assistant coaches, Mark Henderson and Keith Wright, helped the Paris Track Club send 29 of its 60 athletes to the upcoming state meet in several different events, ranging from sprint relays to individual sprint and long distance runs.

Adkins knows that success comes with a price, which is both good and pressure-packed — maintaining the high expectations while continuing to improve is why he believes his program is here for good and is set up for both short-term and long-term success.

“I think the main reason parents and kids should buy into the Paris Track Club is because everybody can run,” Adkins said. “Not everybody can throw a football or shoot a basketball and all of that, but we’re looking to work with these kids that are wanting to run. My older kids in the track program do a great job of helping the younger kids, working hands on with them and giving them confidence. Not only will the older kids give and seek confidence, but the younger kids will as well — everyone is seeking ways to build their confidence.” 

Generating the type of success in the program’s first year was not done by Adkins alone. He said that his assistants, Henderson and Wright, played a huge role in the success of the program. In addition to that, Adkins, who was a former track athlete himself in his youth, thanked his club track coach for the inspiration behind this idea. Jesse Ramon, who coached Adkins in Garland, provided Adkins with an example of how to make his own track program successful and how to do things the right way. Adkins also mentioned a special thanks to Paris High School track coach Michael Johnson, Keitha and Michael Carlton, RES Electric, Paris ISD for use of facilities, Williams Sporting Goods for making the team’s uniforms and everyone else who has contributed and donated to the Paris Track Club in any way they could.

The state meet, which will take place Thursday through Sunday at College Station High School in College Station, Texas, features local athletes ranging from ages 11 through 18 years.

The track season will come to a close following the state meet in College Station, but will start back up later in the year. Adkins said sign ups will be conducted in December, and the price for all athletes is the same at $45 per person. The fee includes a team uniform and registration. For any questions or for more information, call 903-715-6648, or send an email to coach.adkins34@gmail.com.

Below are the Paris Track Club athletes advancing to the state meet in their respective events:

14U girls

4X100 sprint relay (Jasmine Franklin, Baleigh Cashion, Shamiya Holt and Za’Tyrani Washington) - 1st

100m (2nd), 200m (3rd) - Jasmine Franklin

Shamiya Holt - long jump - 1st, high jump - 1st, 400m run - 2nd

Avery Anthony, 1600m run - 1st, 3200m run - 1st

Baleigh Cashion - long jump - 2nd

16U girls

4x100m sprint relay (Enchantra Roberson, Kashyra Gunn, Naomi Fountain and Ashley McGuire) - 1st

Enchantra Roberson - 100m run - 1st, 200m run - 1st

Kashyra Gunn - 100m run, 2nd, Triple jump - 2nd, long jump - 2nd

Ashley McGuire - 100m run - 3rd

Naomi Fountain - 800m run - 2nd

18U girls

Tatiana Washington - 100m run - 3rd, 200m run - 1st, 400m run - 3rd, long jump - 2nd

Deaveonne Jackson - long jump, 1st

12U boys

4x100 sprint relay (Ryelan Morris, Malik Johnson, Dreightan Patt and Aldren Gill) - 2nd

4x400 sprint relay (Andres Melguizo, Jaydrien Henderson, Aldren Gill and Ryelan Morris) - 2nd

Garrett Lowry - 800m run - 1st, 1600m run - 1st

Malik Johnson - 200m run - 1st, long jump - 1st

Demyrion Patterson - 800m hurdles, 1st

Ryelan Morris - 400m run, 3rd

Andres Melguizeo - 800m run, 2nd

14U boys

4x100 sprint relay (Tashaun Baldwin, Carlton Hicks, Thomas Battle Jr. and Deon Morrs) - 3rd

Keilond Wright - 300m hurdles - 1st, 110 hurdles - 2nd, triple jump - 2nd

James Carlton - 1600m run - 1st, 3200m - 1st

Pablo Melguizo - 800m run - 3rd

16U boys

Adam Hartman - 1600m run - 1st, 3200m - 1st

Johnathan Jones - long jump - 2nd, triple jump - 2nd

18U boys

Isaac Hutchings - 110 hurdles - 1st, 300 hurdles - 2nd

Geoff Heppes is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6967 or at geoff.heppes@theparisnews.com.

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