At 9 years old and 5 foot 2 inches nothing has stopped Ashton Morales from qualifying for the USA Track and Field (USATF) Junior Olympics. Morales and his family, residents of Glen Cove, flew to Sacramento, CA, where the Olympics were being held this past week.
Morales is a student at Landing Elementary School in Glen Cove, but competes with a club track team, Explosion, located in Freeport. The coaches recognized Morales’ talent and he was offered a spot on the club team almost immediately after the first day of tryouts. Explosion Track Club is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the USATF and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).
“Our main objectives are to provide a service to the youth in our community, so that they can excel in three major areas: academically, athletically and as a person,” their website states.
Although track is his main sport, Morales comes from a family of sports enthusiasts and began participating in basketball, baseball and flag football at a young age. Morales has only been running track for about a year, but has already accomplished a lot. To qualify for the Junior Olympics, Morales had to compete at regionals, which were held at Comsewogue High School on the week of July 15.
“He did a lot of hill and beach training; he does [the training] well once he sees how the results can pay off,” said his father Joseph Morales. “It’s an amazing accomplishment because there are kids from all over the United States competing. I’m very proud of him.”
Morales usually runs in the 4×1 relay as well as the 100-meter and 200-meter relays.
“I’m very happy about [getting to the Junior Olympics.], I put in so much work,” said Ashton. “Since I’m so energetic and I love running, I’m trying my hardest to get the gold [medal].
“It’s an opportunity and he’s going to take full advantage of it, no matter how he performs — it’s motivation for next year,” said Joseph. “We always want to try to improve, regardless of where we are.”
Morales’ family created a GoFundMe page to help lessen the burden of the travel expenses to fly across the county at such short notice. The community was extremely supportive in raising money for the trip, said Joseph. On July 22, the city of Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke reposted the link to the GoFundMe page, writing. “Congratulations to Glen Cove’s own Ashton Morales on qualifying for the USATF Junior Olympics.”
For more information about the Explosion Track Club, visit www.jmhdesigngroup.wixsite.com/explosion-track-club/about.