By Monica Petrova, Special to the Independent
The city’s annual track and field meet drew a crowd of spectators and young athletes to the high school field last Friday.
Participating athletes were born in 1997 or later, ruining my chances of competing. Each competitor was eligible to compete in three events in addition to relays, which some of the competitors used as a warm up. Choices included sprints, middle distance, long and high jump.
Boys and girls assembled on the field to be divvied up by age group. Kids turned cartwheels while coach, Fred Pichay tried to organize teams. Parents, who were allowed on the field, pitched in ensuring their kid found the right group. Some patiently explained basic relay rules to first time runners. The advice that predominated was “remember to stay in your own lane.”
Though a friendly competition, every kid was striving to cross the finish line first.
The 1600-meter, roughly a mile or four laps around the field, got spectators’ attention. Only four athletes competed in the meet’s longest race. One was 13-year-old Greer Jacobs, whose passion for running was visible in her determined expression and manner at the start line. She set the pace soon after the race was underway. Giving up the lead was not an option. Parents and students cheered as each competitor completed every lap. Greer finished first with a time of 5.44 minutes.
Long jump and high jump was underway even as short distance races were run. I had a chance to watch Colette Putnam, 14, fling herself over the bar at various heights. Motivated and quite tall, she kept her eye on the bar and didn’t give up until she conquered her jump.
Monica Petrova is a recent transplant from Arizona