On Oct. 1, the Amateur Athletic Union named Belvoir’s Sonic Boom Track Club to its Top 100 collection of outstanding teams, in recognition of its volunteers who work throughout the organization’s seasons to support the program. Sonic Boom’s volunteers ensure its more than 100 member-athletes are prepared to face off against some of the most accomplished youth sports clubs in the area.
“Each year, AAU Track and Field has almost 2,000 clubs filled with young athletes, and we realize these clubs are grounded with coaches and parents who provide the foundation in which future athletic and academic stars will be produced,” said Madison Evans, AAU Track and Field sports coordinator. “It’s our desire to acknowledge programs that show exemplary efforts in the development of the youth of, not only this country, but throughout the world.
“While we are aware that clubs vary in size, we also understand the tremendous efforts it takes to manage the larger clubs,” Evans added. “And, naming clubs to the Top 100 is our way of saying ‘thanks’ to the programs that reach the larger number of athletes and are providing positive academic and athletic opportunities.”
“Fort Belvoir Sonic Boom Track Club Commissioner Coach Richard Herman’s encouragement of the young athletes and the work of the coaches and volunteers of the program is what this AAU award represents,” said Bronte Montgomery, Sonic Boom Track Club parent volunteer. “While the program is the only one of its kind in the Army, it’s success has resulted in continued support from the Fort Belvoir Garrison and Youth Sports Program Director, Jerry Arrington, who understands the value of impactful youth sports programs.
“The AAU’s commitment to ‘Providing Positive Academic and Athletic Opportunities’ to youth around the world, is the same mantra Herman envisioned, when he started the club in 2000 to provide military high school students options for competitive track and field,” Montgomery added. “Alton Greene serves as head coach and often imparts words of wisdom to the athletes.”
According to Montgomery, Sonic Boom Track and Field serves as a developmental program focusing on the core fundamentals of proper movement; strength; agility; coordination; nutrition and the mental aspects of the sport, including discipline to achieve desired outcomes. While hard work is required, the coaches impress the importance of academics, teamwork, character and perseverance.
Youth athletes of all skill levels participate and their coaches reinforce that the objective is to set goals and strive to attain them, a concept that follows into their everyday lives; it’s not just about taking first place, Montgomery said. The coaches celebrate athletes for attaining personal bests, allows them to see they’ve made progress and can work hard to tackle a new goal. The Sonic Boom Developmental Track Meet is the first meet of the season for our region, and offers the full complement of track and field events. The program provides athletes the chance to develop and is not focused only on those with stellar talent.
“Our coaches include active-duty Soldiers; retirees, DoD civilians, local community members and parents,” Montgomery said. “Head Coach Alton Greene oversees the program with a dedicated coaching staff and volunteers who spend countless hours at weekly practices and most Saturdays or Sundays. In the spring and summer, they spend at least 10 hours a day motivating athletes at track meets in the DMV area. The coaches all agree it’s a labor of love for the sport and the athletes. The volunteers and parents bear all the travel expenses to meets, including Junior Olympic competitions, as they are not able to fundraise due to ethics limitations.
“Coach Herman believes it’s befitting the club to be recognized as it celebrates 20 years in 2020,” Montgomery added. “His motto, ‘Today’s Champions, Tomorrow’s Leaders’ has been evident in the athletes who have come through the program. He knows he couldn’t support Belvoir’s youth and be recognized for this prestigious award without the dedicated coaches and volunteers. A man of few words, Herman emailed the volunteers after being notified of the award, simply saying, ‘thanks for a job well done.’
“Congratulations Coach Herman and the Sonic Boom family on this prestigious award, for the impact you’ve made in the lives of our youth and for representing Fort Belvoir with excellence” Montgomery said.
For information about Belvoir’s Sonic Boom Track Club, including meet schedules, visit http://www.sonicboomtrackclub.com.
For information about the many sports, fitness and recreational opportunities for youth on post, visit https://belvoir.armymwr.com/categories/cys-services or call Jerry Arrington, CYS youth sports and fitness director, 703-805-9139 .
For more photos, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/fort_belvoir
Sonic Boom volunteer recognitions
Tony Agudzi Addo