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Meet offers early glimpse of track events

The Brookhaven Recreation Department will host the annualHershey’s Track and Field Meet on Saturday at the Brookhaven HighSchool football field.

The event is for children ages 9-14. It features races ofvarious lengths of races and field events in several categories forboth boys and girls.

“It’s sponsored by Hershey’s candy,” said Recreation DepartmentDirector Terry Reid. “Parents are invited and encouraged to attend,and there’s no gate fee or anything. Everybody’s welcome tocome.”

Reid said the idea of the meet is not only the fun ofcompetition, but also the early emphasis on track as a sportchildren can prepare for by themselves.

“It’s good for them just to learn different techniques andstyles of running, and to give them a taste of track because it’s ahigh school sport,” said Reid. “These kids are elementary andjunior high, and this way they can pursue it earlier.”

Reid said many children learn track is something at which theycan excel without needing equipment or having to form a team.

“That you can train for track by yourself is the good thing.It’s not a team sport,” he said. “You can go run all day byyourself, and you don’t need a team.”

On top of that, the early experience gives kids a head startwhen they reach high school, since there isn’t a track programcurrently in place in the junior high schools, Reid said.

“It’s an eye-opening experience for someone interested in trackand what there is to it and what it takes to run the differentraces,” said Reid. “Coach (Patrick) Hardy at BHS says it’s helpedhim because if they didn’t run in this meet, they wouldn’tnecessarily know what track all about.”

Reid said the learning process is one that is fun to watch eachyear.

“Last year this kid comes up and says, ‘I’m the fastest kid atmy school, everyone had better watch out,'” said Reid. “Then hedidn’t win a race, but he learned. They’ll all sign up for the1,600 meter run, they’ll get about halfway through, and say ‘What?How many more laps?'”

The running events include everything from the 50-meter dash tothe 1,600-meter run. Field events involve things such as thesoftball throw and the standing long jump.

The age groups for both boys and girls are 9-10, 11-12, and13-14. Registration forms are available at the RecreationDepartment.

Reid said department officials would like for entrants toregister early, but there will be additional registration until 9a.m. Saturday.

Event winners have a chance to go to the Hershey’s factory inPennsylvania.

“If they win here they go to Gulfport to the state meet,” saidReid. “From there they go to Hershey, Penn., for the nationals atthe chocolate factory.”

There were six contestants from Brookhaven last year who went tothe state meet. If a child qualifies for the state meet, a birthcertificate will be required.