Golden Elite Track and Field Club, located in Escambia County, was selected as the 2023 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Zone B Track & Field Club of the Year. This prestigious award was presented to the team and received by Coach Mike Etheredge at the 2023 AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa.
The AAU Zone B encompasses the districts of North Carolina, Southeastern, Southern, Gulf, Southwestern, Kentucky, South Texas, Georgia, West Texas, Florida, Florida Gold Coast, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico.
The AAU is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, multi-sport event organizations in the world. It is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs. The AAU philosophy of “Sports For All, Forever” is now shared by nearly 720,000 members and 150,000 volunteers across 45 sports programs and 55 U.S. districts.
The AAU Zone B Track & Field Club of the Year Award highlights Golden Elite’s exceptional accomplishments, growth, and positive impact on athletes’ lives throughout the years. Golden Elite is the first track and field team from the state of Florida to receive this award.
Golden Elite’s was established by Army Veteran Michael Etheredge in 2000. The mission of the program is to educate the community about the importance of leading a physically active, drug-free lifestyle that includes living with integrity and respect for oneself by using the sport of track and field.
“It’s an incredible honor to receive this award on behalf of our dedicated athletes, supportive parents, and generous donors. It’s hard to believe it started with one athlete and has evolved,” says Coach Mike. “This recognition is a testament to our shared commitment to excellence and the belief in the potential of every individual who has been a part of our organization.”
Golden Elite offers nutritional education, a mentor & tutor program, training on the fundamentals of running, sprint and distance training, field event training, and life skills such as bullying prevention and college preparation.
Katie Beroset, mother of Golden Elite runner Drew Beroset, says “I can’t say enough great things about Golden Elite Track and Field Club. We have truly loved every second of our experience with Golden Elite and look forward to doing it again!”
Drew, a 14-year-old freshman at Gulf Breeze High School, also runs this fall for his high school cross-country team. Drew broke records in middle school when he set a new record of 4:38:39 in the mile.
Drew recently placed 4th with a time of 8:52.34 in the 15-16 year-old 3000m event at the USATF National Junior Olympics.
Zamari Purifoy, also finished 4th for 13-14 year-olds in the 200 meters race, with a 22.61 time.
Golden Elite’s legacy toward fostering growth, nurturing talent, and instilling values in young athletes by using the sport of track and field has contributed to this well-deserved accolade.
For the Local Pulse story about Golden Elite’s showing at the Junior Olympics, click here.