Dalton Walters Team Sprint Pan American Track Championships 1130x600
Team USA

Sprinter Dalton Walters Ready to Showcase His Progress at 2024 Pan American Track Cycling Championships

By: Jim Rusnak  March 27, 2024

Gear up for the 2024 Pan American Track Cycling Championships in the U.S!

The U.S. track sprint team has the opportunity to showcase its progress on home turf next month at the 2024 Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Los Angeles. There, they will compete against Olympic-level competition from across North and South America at the world-class Velo Sports Center.

The Velo Sports Center is the team’s official training site and the future venue of the LA2028 Olympic Track cycling events. The Pan American Track Cycling Championships will run from April 3-7.

American sprinter Dalton Walters is looking forward to welcoming his family, friends and even some co-workers to the big event to show them the fruits of his hard work over the last few years.

“It’s so rare that my family gets to come out and watch me race because these track races are all over the world,” Walters said. “My mom, my dad and my sister are all going to be able to come out and watch. My granddad is coming out, which I’m super excited about.”

“Nationals was really special last year. I had some family that could come out. This is going to be even bigger. There’s a lot of hype around it for people who want to come out and watch the sport.”

Walters, 26, is a native of Richardson, Texas, and a graduate of Colorado Mesa University. He now lives in Long Beach, Calif., and trains as a member of the U.S. Sprint National Team at the Velo Sports Center.

He began track cycling in college as a member of the CMU cycling program. He entered the Olympic development program in 2020, the spring of his junior year and the fall of his senior year. In addition to his training on the bike, he was pushing hard to finish his degree in mechanical engineering. He was also a member of Formula SAE, a club for engineering students in which he designed and built a race car.

“Engineering and cycling have always been hand-in-hand, no matter what level it’s been,” Walters said.

Walters graduated in 2021 and moved to the LA area for an internship with Toyota. Erin Hartwell of USA Cycling relocated the national sprint track program to the Velo Sports Center that fall.

“It was a very, very big accomplishment for me to reach my graduation just because so much had gone into it,” Walters said. “At the same time, I got my internship at Toyota the summer after I graduated and changed gears to that. The internship was in Costa Mesa (Calif.), where I work now. It allowed me to have exposure to the Velo Sports Center and continue to train here while I was working.”

In Walters’ words, “That’s when it all heated up.”

He attended a training camp in 2022, and the national sprint program started seeing a lot of traction and interest. Walters became a part of the initial cohort of riders pushing to get those first spots on the U.S. sprint team. In May that year, he competed in his first Nations Cup competition in Milton, Ontario, Canada.

“That was a huge trip—the biggest international trip I’d ever been on,” Walters said. “A lot of us had never traveled like this—never traveled with bikes and equipment. It was a big project, and again, we were kind of experimenting with it for the first time. We’d never seen anything like this. So that was big exposure.

“It really wasn’t anything special in terms of results, but that was our first go at true international racing. From there, we just kind of got thrown into the deep end and eventually started to swim. It took us a bit of time to get to where we were internationally competitive—where we could line up against strong, well-established programs and give them a run for their money.”

Near the end of 2023, Walters and his teammates began seeing their speed coming around for the Pan Am Championships and Pan Am Games.

“We weren’t in another league from Canada and Colombia,” Walters said. “We could really trade punches with them now. We see that now, and that’s kind of where we’re at coming into this year’s racing.”

The official rosters for this year’s Pan American Championships have not yet been selected, but Walters said he will likely compete in Position 2 of the men’s team sprint event. Last year at the USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships, he and teammates Jamie Alvord, Evan Boone and Josh Hartman took gold in the Elite Team Sprint.

“(P2) suits my skillset very well in being able to start, get off the line, accelerate and then find that rush where you’re a little bit behind that P1 rider, and you have to take your shot to bring in as much speed and momentum as you can,” Walters said. “It’s very challenging, and it’s different every time you do it. No two efforts are the same. It keeps me on my toes. You can never come into it with complacency and expect it to be an easy ride because it never is.”

This year’s Pan American Championships is one of the last opportunities for athletes to earn final points toward Olympic qualification. Walters and his teammates are unfortunately out of contention for the Games, but the sprinters on the women’s team are still fighting for a spot.

Come see the action for yourself! You can purchase tickets here.