The United Age Group Track Coaches Association, Inc. (UAGTCA) was conceived in the autumn of 1976 after a meeting of area track club representatives held at the Cliveden House, an auxiliary building of the Mallery Recreation Center in Philadelphia, PA. The outgrowth of that meeting was the formation of a relatively small organization, with an ambitious agenda and a goal, “To provide a quality, organized track and field program for the youth of the area”. The group held its first meet in the Spring of 1977 and for over 30 years this has remained the primary focus of the UAGTCA. The group was formally incorporated as a Pennsylvania not for profit organization in October, 1977 and received favorable determination of its exempt status as a 501 (C) (3) organization effective February of that same year.
Philadelphia area athletes, in order to compete effectively, had to travel great distances in order to participate in competitions that could very easily be conducted in our local area. Lacking only the organization, a concept was born and embraced enthusiastically by a few energetic men and women on behalf of their organizations.
The ‘Brainchild’ of George Anderson, founder of the Mallery Challengers Track Club and a supervisor at the Mallery Recreation center, the UAGTCA offered very few benefits to its charter members, only the opportunity to work hard with the knowledge that 'failure was not an option’.
Perspective members were asked to make an initial financial commitment of fifty dollars per team in order to cover initial startup expenses. This requirement limited the initial membership greatly. The charter members, the Mallery Challengers Track Club, Oak Lane Youth Association, Philadelphia Express Track Club, Morris Estate Track Club, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Gazelle-Striders Track Club and the Mt. Airy Track Club were all Philadelphia based organizations which unfairly gave the impression that other groups were prohibited from joining. The later addition of the Wilmington Track Club, Camden City Track Club, the Perkiomen Valley Striders, Delco Stallions, Delaware Diamonds and the Willingboro Track Club helped to resolve the Philadelphia only perception. The UAGTCA was born.
There were not many great facilities available to the group in the beginning but the completion of ‘Marcus Foster Stadium’ in 1979 would allow our athletes the opportunity to train and compete in a state of the art facility. There would be no stopping us now. The support of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation and many others, allowed the UAGTCA to flourish through the many difficult times of those early years.
The group sponsored a series of competitions in the spring of 1977 that was effective, organized and quickly became accepted as the best youth developmental series available in the area. The group has been a constituent member of USA Track & Field and its predecessor The Athletics Congress (TAC) since its inception. The numbers, in the beginning, were modest with meets averaging between 200 - 300 athletes. The organization continued to enhance its’ reputation for staging quality competitions by hosting the 1981 TFA/USA National Age-Group Championship and the 1985 *TAC National Age Group Championship. The UAGTCA was one of the first youth groups to use a computerized system to score a major competition, the UAGTCA quickly became a recognized leader in youth meet organization. The Spring meets have continued, uninterrupted since that inaugural series and have enjoyed their greatest success in the new millennium. We now draw more than 1,000 athletes to our developmental meets and athletes from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and New York compete on a weekly basis. The Philadelphia area athletes no longer suffer the expense and inconvenience of exhaustive travel. They are now the hosts and enjoy the benefits of great local meets with excellent competition. The UAGTCA has seen the growth and development of many fine athletes and lists, a virtual who’s who, of track and field stars amongst it alumni.
We inaugurated our first Youth Invitational track meet in 2006. The meet was modeled after the 'East Coast Invitational' a highly regarded youth track meet that had become a national model for youth summer track and field meets. The UAGTCA Youth Invitational is a similar three day celebration that affords many athletes from the USA and abroad an opportunity to compete with other high caliber athletes at the peak of their season's conditioning. Many athletes use it as a springboard to National Competition. The UAGI is now broadcast live via the internet.
We have continued, undeterred, into the new millennium and It is our hope to provide this very vital service to the youth track and field community for as long as our resources permit. We believe that our goal, though difficult, is achievable as long as we continue to receive the help and support of our many friends.
New members are accepted each year with sponsorship by an existing member organization.
* The Athletics Congress (TAC) was the predecessor of USA Track & Field (USATF)