Fathers Day Contest Submissions

2016 Father’s Day Contest

Fathers and Coaches play an integral role in the lives of young children and youth athletes. Youth track and field athletes are afforded many opportunities because of the selflessness and devotion shown to them by these important role models.

2016 winners have been chosen and will receive a gift bag of Coach O apparel! Thank you to all those who participated in the contest and help us celebrate Fathers in 2016.

Father & Athlete Winner

Terry Antonio Pridgen & Daughter Teri Andrea’ Pridgen

The photo is a blended photo as this little girl’s father passed away from a massive hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 42. It was devastating for Teri who at the time was 6 1/2 years of age. Teri’s dad was a track and field stand out in high school and at Clemson University in sprinting and field events.  Terry Pridgen introduced his daughter Teri to track at the age of 5.  He told me that “Teri can be a star”.  I hold these words close to my heart as I now have assumed the responsibility of nurturing this amazing gift she has.  After the loss of her father and my beloved husband I have watched Teri do amazing things on the track.  She holds a Bronze medal in the 800m (2014 AAU Junior Olympics) and has three other meet records in the 800m in the state of NC.  She also has the heart of a champion and has won MANY races in the 200m, 400m and 800m.  Teri is also an honor student and is in the academically and intellectually gifted program.  She continues to excel on the track because of the foundation her father, Terry Antonio Pridgen laid.  – Gina Powell Pridgen

Coach & Athlete Winner

Coach “D” (Darius) Lawshea & Athletes of  Miami Gardens Xpress

My name is Johanna Lawshea and I would like to nominate my hubby, Darius “Coach D” Lawshea to the Father’s Day contest. Darius or Coach D, as his athletes have affectionately nicknamed him, is the head coach of the Miami Gardens Xpress Track and Field Club (MGX) and our team’s biggest fan and supporter. Many of the athletes see him as a more than a coach but as a father -figure that they can depend on. He volunteers countless hours training and motivating our athletes to be great; to believe in themselves and never give up on their dreams…his motto is #TrainToBeGreat and nothing less. On any given day Coach D can be found shuttling athletes to and from practice, providing them with a hot meal, shoes, clothing, assisting with homework and school assignments and even a roof over their heads without ever expecting or asking for compensation. He does day in and day out, selflessly…out of the kindness of his heart!

2016 Father’s Day Contest Submissions

Father & Athlete Photo Gallery

Father & Athlete  – Nominee Information

(List is in the same order as photos are displayed above)

1.       Father Jason Larrison & Son Patrick Larrison – My father goes through every single emotion I go through he’s excited, nervous, and works with me everyday either discussing the meets, going over video, researching new drills or even doing the drills before he shows me to insure I am free of injury or going to benefit from the training, I can always count on my dad to understand what I am going through. Coach , dad, grandpa, friends and Thrower family. My dad, grandpa, and cousin all taught themselves how to throw just to compete one day with me! I am so proud of them and how much support they give me in every way!!!!  3GenerationsShotPutMedalists!!!!

2.       Father Timothy Akey & Son Derek Akey – My dad’s been to every track meet of mine over the last 3 years, never missing a single one. Going out of his way to get me to practice, the gym, and everything else has been vital to everything I’ve been able to accomplish on and off the track.

3.       Father Edmund Mcallister Jr & Son Edmund Mcallister III – I believe these two should win the prize because they are extremely dedicated, and it does not only make my son a better athlete but it helps us build our father and son relationship.  My son knows I believe in him, and he believes in me, and I am there always, no matter what.

4.       Father James Houser , Daughters Briana & Jasmine Houser and grandson Jesiah Houser –  Our father has been coaching on the Bond Hill Flyers for 16 years. He’s coached 2 daughters and now 2 grandchildren.

5.       Father Josh Namken & daughter Kiersten Namken – My name is Kiersten Namken and I am nominating my dad, Josh Namken for the Fathers Day Contest.  My dad is my biggest fan and supporter.  He has been to every cross country and track meet for my school and voluntarily coaches long distance for LC Express Track Club in his spare time where I run summer and indoor track with AAU.  He sacrifices numerous hours helping me train and teaching me the value of sports and discipline.

6.       Father Jeramie Salters, daughter Jera Salters and son Jeramie Salters Jr. – My husband Jeramie Salters does his best to help his children excel in all areas. He makes time outside normal practice to work with his children.  – Rachel Salters

7.       Father Jeff Nikora & son Jesse Nikora – “Like father, like son. Let’s do the time warp again.”

8.       Father Terry Antonio Pridgen & daughter Teri Andrea’ Pridgen– The photo is a blended photo as this little girl’s father passed away from a massive hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 42.  It was devastating for Teri who at the time was 6 1/2 years of age. Teri’s dad was a track and field stand out in high school and at Clemson University in sprinting and field events.  Terry Pridgen introduced his daughter Teri to track at the age of 5.  He told me that “Teri can be a star”.  I hold these words close to my heart as I now have assumed the responsibility of nurturing this amazing gift she has.  After the loss of her father and my beloved husband I have watched Teri do amazing things on the track.  She holds a Bronze medal in the 800m (2014 AAU Junior Olympics) and has three other meet records in the 800m in the state of NC.  She also has the heart of a champion and has won MANY races in the 200m, 400m and 800m.  Teri is also an honor student and is in the academically and intellectually gifted program.  She continues to excel on the track because of the foundation her father, Terry Antonio Pridgen laid.  – Gina Powell Pridgen

9.       Father Neal Wilder and daughters Auhmya , Nikayia , and La’Neal  – Wilder3g is a team of 3 sisters that are coached by their father.  This father has been dedicated too bettering his kids since they were able to run.  Everything he does is out of his own pocket and he takes on his coaching responsibility like it’s a 2nd job. When he is not at the track he is a full time law enforcement Sergeant and a full time husband. Coach/Father Neal Wilder, and daughters/ Athletes Auhmya Wilder, Nikayia Wilder, and La’Neal Wilder are known as Wilder3g or Wilder 3 girls have made a big impact in the AAU.

10.   Father Miguel Ducasse and son Marcelino Ducasse -.I think that track and field is a fantastic gift to a child and this picture expresses that gift.

11.   Father Jimmie Pope & daughter Jasmine Pope – I feel as though my dad should win because he does everything to make sure I am ready for my race make sure I’m warmed up & he stretches me out so I can be loose he also motivates me to do my best he is such a big part of my track career & more years to come this is why I feel my dad should win.

12.   Father Jay Johnson & son Jayden Johnson – This is a photo of Jayden Johnson and his father Jay after Jayden’s first ever 11-12 boys 80m hurdles race, he was so excited because of what he had just accomplished. His short size made it a challenge but he has overcome that obstacle. His father Jay is his biggest supporter.

13.   Father Mhekeba Hager & sons Kaeden and Khalil – Our daddy ran track from middle school through his freshman year in college without his parents attending one single meet. We love and appreciate our daddy for sharing his passion with us and spending countless hours every week coaching, training, and supporting us in the heat, cold, rain, and the wind to help us realize our talents to the fullest.

14.   Father Chappriel Pitt & daugther Kiara Jones – She use to be so shy before he got her running now that’s all she talks about @ wanting to get faster….

15.   Father Alvin Johnson Sr & Son Alvin Johnson Jr – I would like to nominate a father/athlete duo Alvin Johnson Sr. and Alvin Johnson Jr. aka AJ, of Daytona Express Track & Field Club. Mr. Johnson helps all our athletes on the field but most importantly he instills discipline and the importance of education. As you can see in this picture as proof, AJ is using his time constructively during a track meet by reading with his dad by his side. Mr. Johnson just don’t preach he put his words into action. – Gina Rivers, Administrative Assistant,  Daytona Express Track Club

16.   Father Alonzo Saxton & daughter Emoni Saxton – This picture represents the journey of a father/daughter using Track and field to build a strong work ethic for a lifetime!!

17.   Father Aaron Phillips and his children – I would like to nominate Aaron Phillips for this award. He is a very supportive and driving force with his kids and the other athletes on the Dragon team.

Coach & Athlete Photo Gallery

Coach & Athlete – Nominee Information

(List is in the same order as photos are displayed above)

1.       Coach Tim Downey & athlete Sam Meece – This coach, Tim Downey, has been working with my son for 3+ years completely as a volunteer.  In fact, he volunteers to coach all of the throwers on our high school team.  The most special thing about him is that he helps anyone who wants to throw: my son, others on team, others on other teams. He has coached Sam to 3 state outdoor and 2 state indoor completions.  His generosity and love for track and field deserves recognition! – Sam Meece

2.       Coach “D” Lawshea athletes of Miami Gardens Xpress – My name is Johanna Lawshea and I would like to nominate my hubby, Darius “Coach D” Lawshea to the Father’s Day contest. Darius or Coach D, as his athletes have affectionately nicknamed him, is the head coach of the Miami Gardens Xpress Track and Field Club (MGX) and our team’s biggest fan and supporter. Many of the athletes see him as a more than a coach but as a father -figure that they can depend on. He volunteers countless hours training and motivating our athletes to be great; to believe in themselves and never give up on their dreams…his motto is #TrainToBeGreat and nothing less. On any given day Coach D can be found shuttling athletes to and from practice, providing them with a hot meal, shoes, clothing, assisting with homework and school assignments and even a roof over their heads without ever expecting or asking for compensation. He does day in and day out, selflessly…out of the kindness of his heart!

3.       Coach Heidelbaugh and athletes Patrick Larrison & Nick Mcmilian – 1st and 2nd Oklahoma 6a Champions Patrick Larrison, Nick Mcmilian.

4.       Coach Anthony Williams & athlete Teri Andrea’ Pridgen – Teri is now 10 years old and competes in the 200m, 400m, and 800m.  Teri’s father passed away in 2013 after complications of a massive hemorrhagic stroke.  Since the death of her father, Teri has continued to flourish on the track due to the training and support of her coach, Anthony Williams.  All of her success partially due to her hard work ethic and also because her coach believes in her, pushes her to improve and supports her no matter what.  Under Coach Williams’ training Teri has won a bronze medal in the 800m in the 2014 AAU Junior Olympics.  She has also won a 5th place medal in the 2016 AAU National Indoor Track and Field Championships.  Teri has also won first place in most of her races in the time since the death of her father.

5.       Coach Carl DiSarno & athlete Baird Johnson – It’s a process; taking a young athlete, teaching him the skills and helping him train.  It’s a process, that turns into a relationship of mutual respect and camaraderie.  Coach Carl DiSarno and 1600 runner Baird Johnson at the NYC Middle School Championships June 11, 2016.  A relationship that lasted 3 amazing years.

6.       Coach Hunter and athlete Tamya Respers – Coach Hunter has given so much to his whole track club “The Havelock Heat” Tamya is my 8 year old who really admires her coach who teaches her to work hard during practice so her 100/200 and long jump will be easy during the meets! Really thankful for a coach that genuinely cares about the kids and pushes them to their greatest potential! Tamya wants to recognize her Coach!! –  Tamya Respers and parents

7.       Coach Damion JeanPiere & athlete Donovan Briggs – This is picture of my son, Donovan Briggs, being carried by his Coach, Damion JeanPiere, after a race in which he injured his leg. My son also submitted a write up on behalf of Coach Damion, but I wanted to make a submission myself because of the impact that Coach Damion makes not only on my son, but the impact he has made on me and the families of the team at large.  Coach Damion is a selfless, hardworking, committed, and compassionate man.  He created Southern Track Speed because he has a personal mission of giving back and a vision of positively affecting the lives of today’s youth…and I can personally tell you that he accomplishes this every single day…and not just during track season.  Like most coaches, he commits countless hours of his time every day to the athletes and the team…but he even checks on them in the off season, encouraging their studies, and visiting and supporting them at school and church events.  He is an ever present source of strength and guidance in these kids lives.  But Coach Damion is more than a coach…he is a committed servant to the families that have the honor of being on this team.  He provides the same type of encouragement, support, strength, and love to the parents and families of the athletes as he does the athletes themselves.  To me personally, he is a big brother, a mentor, a counselor, and with his wonderful wife, Desiree, an example.  He is the epitome of what a man should be in today’s world…something we all need to see, not just the kids.  We love and appreciate him more than words could ever tell.  Our lives would be the same without track…but our lives would not be the same without Coach Damion!  Coach Damion is not just a coach, he is a role model, encourager, disciplinarian, life coach, and supporter.  Many of us on the team don’t have a father present with us day to day, and Coach Damion fills the role of a loving and caring father but he also has firm hand and demands disciple and respect of us.  He tells us that his goal is not to make us succeed in track…but in life, to grow up to be strong, respectful men like he is.  He is a strong and supportive man…just like in the picture, when I was hurt after my race and he carried me when I could not walk.  Because of him, track is way more than just running and training…track is a way to teach us how to be strong and succeed in life against all odds.

8.       Coach Charles Muhammad & athlete Alexia – I’d like to submit Charles Muhammad for the Coach/Athlete category of the Coach O Father’s Day contest. I’ve known Charles for over 10 years, coaching together for 5 of those. Charles has always been that extended father figure to all of his athletes. Be it a confidant/counselor, college recruiter, a ride to practice and back home, or that one to provide a meal for tired, hungry athletes.  Charles selflessly devotes his time and resources to ensure that his athletes reach their full potential on and off the track. I’m sure that there are many coaches out there that have done the same, but I believe he’s the best example to personify the word “Coach”. – Sorento Griggs

9.       Coach Bell & athletes – Coach Bell co-founded the Port City Track Club because they saw the need for a track program in the Wilmington, NC area. Coach Bell also coaches at Laney High School where he has been for the last 5 years..   Not only is he a coach, he is also a great mentor to especially the young men.  Coach Bell also still competes in track as well, competing with Team USA Masters.  He shows us that you can compete and continue to compete on any level if you put in the hard work and dedication. Coach Bell often spends a lot of his own money making sure that we as a team can get back and forth to meets or even enter meets and provide uniforms. In the picture, Coach Bell is not only helping out our track club but he is making sure athletes from other track clubs are performing to the best of their ability.  He wants to makes sure all kids, no matter what team are getting the chance to perform and are doing it properly.  Coach Bell has been running track since he was 8 years old, to high school, college, post-college and even today.  This is who we strive to be and model our self after, and he should be recognizes for his sacrifice, hard work and dedication to the sport.

10.   Coach Alonzo Saxton with Team fathers & athletes – Best coach/trainer I have been around.  He lets the kids know that its bigger than sports, he is setting them up for life success.  If I could not attend a meet or get my son to practice, coach Alonzo would make sure he gets there and take care of him like he is his own. We are a big family, coach Alonzo allows us fathers to give input and help.  I believe we are successfully because we work together to make kids better.