The future of track and field is bright in Hays County, and a part of that success will come thanks to the efforts of the Buda Bolts.
To trace the history of the Buda Bolts, one must go back to 1987. The team was founded by Phil Ardrey, a physical education teacher at Hays High School and Buda Elementary. Ardrey used his knowledge of track to start the team despite the Hays area being a football area.
A young Randal Grizzle served as the team’s assistant coach during his high school years. However, when Grizzle left for college and Ardrey found a job elsewhere, the team disbanded. Grizzle credits some of his track interest to Ardrey.
“He helped promote track to me and got me interested,” Grizzle said. “If he had stuck around and built the program, it wouldn’t have surprised me if Hays had won several state championships in track.”
Thirty years later, Grizzle’s children now have an interest in track and field, influencing their father to find them an outlet for their skills. Grizzle decided to re-launch the Bolts, and the team fired back up in 2015.
In the first year back, the Bolts consisted of the head coach’s two children and two other athletes. One year later, the team ballooned up to 40 athletes. The Bolts have had great success over the past few years, with eight athletes qualifying for the AAU Junior Olympics. High jump athlete Lexi Myers finished 8th in the event in 2017.
While the success is welcomed, Grizzle makes it clear that winning is not the main goal for the Buda Bolts organization.
“The idea is for the athletes to get to where they understand the process,” Grizzle said. “If you work at something, you tend to get better at it.”
Grizzle is quick to give credit to others in helping him run the Buda Bolts. Alongside him in coaching the athletes is Charles Austin and John Seers. On the coordination side of things, Grizzle gives high praise to Michael Watson, the principal at Dalstrom Middle School in Buda.
“He(Watson) has been phenomenal throughout everything,” Grizzle said. “He has made everything very easy for me.”
The Bolts have competed in three events so far this season. They participated in their first AAU Junior Olympics qualifying event June 15 through June 16.
The Buda Bolts are currently in the thick of their season, so joining the team right now may be difficult. According to Grizzle, the best way to contact the team is to find their Facebook page, and message them that way.