WEST LAFAYETTE -- Sports are a part of everyday life for the Prater family.
While baseball, softball and soccer always have been a part of the family's routine, track now is a part of it, too.
What began with a track meet this past winter has turned into a passion for 11-year old Alexis and twin 10-year-olds Zach and Bryce.
"Alexis came to me and wanted to find a track meet to go to this winter so I found a meet in Bowling Green," father Jason said. "Once we got there, we found a track club out of Canton that we joined her up with."
The Flight 101 Jets, based in Canton, practice four days a week and go to meets around the state. Recently the group participated in the Lake Erie district meet in Mansfield, and all three advanced to the regional meet at Wittenberg University in Springfield. That begins Thursday.
Alexis will compete in the 200 meters and the long jump, and will be a member of the 400 relay team in the midget division.
"I really like track," said Alexis, who also is a first baseman in softball. "I told dad I wanted to run in a meet, and we found this team in Canton."
Alexis' personal-best efforts are 28.47 seconds in the 200 and 14-feet-7.25 inches in the long jump.
"One good thing is that all my personal bests I did back in May at the same track," Alexis said.
Alexis also will compete in the pentathlon at regionals, which consists of the 800, 80-meter hurdles, long jump, high jump and shot put.
"It's hard right now with her training because she is trying to work on speed work, but at the same time learn techniques in the other events," mother Maria said.
Alexis' 400 relay team won the district title (54.82) and was second in the long jump (12-4) and fifth in the 200 (29.53).
For the boys, it was a matter of being tired of watching Alexis compete.
"It is more fun to compete than watch," Zach said.
Bryce and Zach will compete in the regional meet in the shot put with Bryce finishing second at just shy of 24 feet in the district meet. Zach was third in the bantam division with a throw of almost 23 feet.
"We tried the shot put at a meet, and it was fun," Bryce said.
The boys are able to practice at home in addition to practicing in Canton and recently set new personal records, with Bryce tossing 24-3 and Zach 23-4 in the shot put.
"We can't practice without mom or dad around, but we have a sand box in the backyard that we use," Zach said.
Bryce and Zach also play on the same baseball team, with Bryce playing second base and Zach third base.
Should their efforts be good enough at the regional level, the three would advance to the national meet in Humble, Texas, scheduled for July 28-Aug. 4.
Alexis' goal is simple.
"I want to get back into the 28 seconds in the 200 meters," Alexis said. "That's my favorite event."
Bryce and Zach also hope to improve on their efforts in the shot put.
"I want to beat 23-9, which is my best throw," Bryce said.
"I just want to try and throw at least 24 feet," Zach added.
Finding time between practices, games and meets can be, at times, a bit overwhelming.
"With everything going on, they don't get many days or nights off," Maria said. "Games always take priority over practices, so right now track practices are usually Tuesday and Thursday."
Joining the Flight 101 Jets requires a fee up front and then most meets require a $15 fee to participate in up to three events.
The Jets have runners from ages 5 to 18.
"The age groups are broken down by the year you were born," Maria said. "It doesn't matter if your birthday is in January or December of that year."
As for the travel, Canton was the closest track club. More are located in, among other places, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo.
"As long as they enjoy it, driving an hour for practice really isn't all that bad," Jason said.