Kids get a chance to have some track and field fun

05/26/2016  

By Sue Cody

 

TrackTown 1As the Astoria girls return as champions at the state track meet, preparations are in the works to give the younger crowd a chance at becoming future champs.

 

TrackTown USA Youth League has a free track meet for all boys and girls ages 8 to 14 at Warrenton Grade School from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 1. Last year there were 40 participants and this year 50 have registered already, says Meyer Freeman, chief operating officer of the Oregon Sports Authority. Freeman attended Knappa High School and sets up TrackTown meets all over Oregon.

 

Events include races of 100 meters, 400 meters 1500 meters, long jump and turbojav. No prior track experience is needed. Top finishers in each category advance to the Championship Meet at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon held in conjunction with the U.S Olympic Track & Field Trials.

 

Registration is open until 5 p.m. the day of the meet. To register, click on the Warrenton meet at http://bit.ly/trackwarrenton.

 

The Way to Wellville’s Community Wellness Team encourages healthy activities for people of all ages.

 

TracktTown2Freeman says, “We are seeing a number of kids at each meet who are participating in track for the very first time. We continually hear from parents and kids who are very grateful for the opportunity and are excited to use our meet as a launching point for their future participation in track and field.

 

“Providence Sports Medicine has been a terrific partner – they encouraged us to establish a meet on the North Coast and have helped us get the word out to parents and kids throughout the area” Freeman says.

 

TrackTown 4Fun fact

 

Chris Van Wagner, director of rehabilitation services for Providence Sports Care Center, was on the 1981 Astoria High School team that won the state track and field championship. Astoria hadn’t repeated that accomplishment until 2015 and 2016. Through her work with Providence, she was instrumental in getting the TrackTown meet to the North Coast.

 

Van Wagner says she didn’t get to compete in the state meet because she tore a ligament in preparation. “That is why I became a physical therapist,” she says. She now leads the effort to create programs for healthier communities by supporting sports activities through Providence.

 

“Competing in sports is a way for kids to challenge themselves,” Van Wagner says. “We have seen some kids are incredible athletes and others are just out there to exercise and have fun. Our goal is just to get them out on the track. You don’t need any equipment – just a pair of shoes.”

 

The family atmosphere is also great to see, Van Wagner says. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents all come to cheer on their kids. Awards are given after the meet.

 

TrackTown 5Volunteers

 

There were about 15 volunteers and staff between the Oregon Sports Authority, Providence Seaside Hospital and local sports enthusiasts.

 

Freeman says, “The Oregon Sports Authority made a donation to the Warrenton track program in recognition of its role in organizing the meet, and will do so again this year. Thanks to Providence we are also providing all participants with a really cool TrackTown Youth League Athlete credential and lanyard this year.”