Some of you may have wondered what became of the Washington County Track camp and meet. I know this because I was asked several times when I was in Weiser the first week of April for my Spring Break. I didn’t forget. I caved in to the request to move it to a warmer month (Caleb Walker!). You have not missed it. I begin my camp on Monday, May 21st at 5 p.m. at the Weiser High School track. Registration is through the Weiser Recreation Department.
If this is a first time for some of you, let me fill you in on what usually happens at practice. This is strictly low key and I know I laugh a lot because, frankly, it’s a blast to be surrounded by all the exuberant youth. I do make my little athletes run. We jog half a lap for warm-up but the little ones just go with me to the middle of the football field. Mostly, I see kids take off at dead sprints and end up walking by the time they have covered 200 meters. We stretch together, always beginning with jumping jacks. The jumping jack increases each day. I try to pick a different leader each day and usually one of my older, repeat athletes fills this spot for me. We then do form running.
Form running involves trying to teach the athletes the proper technique for not only running but jumping as I use skipping for length and height, high knees, grape vine or karaoke (always their favorite) to name just a few.
After that, it’s bedlam. Kids split in all different directions depending on how many volunteers I have to help me. I’ve been truly blessed as my volunteers have been former track athletes who ran for me in the past. We try to get some running long jump and standing long jump in. Softball throw doesn’t happen every day but we do work on that and on how to throw properly. We do a lot of running and mostly in the form of racing each other. If I have a particularly fast athlete for their age group, I’ve been known to move them up a division just so they have competition. Let me tell you, over the years the competition between the girls versus the boys can become super tough. Cousins have challenged cousins and I get to benefit from all of it.
Another favorite that I try to do each day is a continuous relay. For the little ones, they pass a baton back and forth after running about 15 yards. They each run at least six to a dozen times and never seem to get tired. The older athletes have a grueling 4x100 meter continuous relay to do. I let them pick their own teams. Each athlete ends up running four, 100 meters by the time they end up back where they started. It takes five to fill out a team. I cheat and hold the faster teams just to make it into a contest and to make them work harder. They love it and also never seem to tire.
After five days of this fun and activity, the kids are encouraged to strut their stuff at the track meet which is held this year on Saturday, May 26th at the Weiser High School track. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the first event starting after warm-ups and the group picture. It will be close to 9 a.m. Meets last real close to three hours leaving plenty of Saturday left to go do something else. I end the meets with an adult versus kids 4x100 meter relay. So far, the adults have always won but the past couple of years, I’ve had more than one adult team (some people just never grow up).
I spend the rest of Saturday filling out ribbons so that they can be picked up at the Weiser Recreation Department starting the Tuesday after the meet. Monday is Memorial Day.
One last note. The events that the athletes can compete in are the 25 yard dash (except 11-12 year olds), 50 yard dash, 100 meters, 200 and 400 meters (9-10 and 11-12 year olds only), running long jump, standing long jump and softball/baseball throw. The relay is for fun and no ribbons are awarded for that. The top three places earn a ribbon. Results will be posted in the Weiser Signal American.