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Tuesday, April 29, 2014
For the last four years, the North Augusta Parks and Recreation Department has been partnering with the running clubs at the local elementary schools to host the Hershey’s Track and Field Championships. This year, the event will take place at North Augusta High School on Saturday, May 3, beginning at 9 a.m.
We have drawn more than 200 athletes every year from ages 9 to 14 with the opportunity to qualify for regional, state and national competitions based on the results. The top three finishers in each age and gender category advance to Lower Richland High School on May 17. The top finishers from that event qualify for the state meet held in Mt. Pleasant on June 7.
Running club interest at the elementary school level is at an all-time high. Students are asked to arrive at school several mornings a week to run and accumulate mileage beginning in mid-March through mid-May. More than 1,000 children are currently in the program at all the North Augusta schools and some in the Aiken and Edgefield area.
We can all agree that physical activity has declined for children over the years. It obviously does not apply to everyone, but this program is a fantastic effort to make fitness fun. I applaud the running clubs first started by Jane Monroe and now led by Karen Fralick to continue to keep the youth moving.
The Hershey meet will hold running events in the 50 meter, up to 1,600 meter distances and field events of standing broad jump and softball throw. Jim Conley will be volunteering as the Pennsylvania announcer and school representatives will be assisting in a variety of roles from timing, awards, registration and clean up.
The event is very enjoyable and the youth are great to be around. We have performed very well in past years at the regional and state level. Registration for the Hershey meet is being held at the local schools, with Thursday, May 1, as the deadline. And if you are interested in volunteering, I’ll see you at the high school on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.