Moffat County Youth Track meet set for May 14

If you go ...

What: Moffat County Youth Track

When: 5:15 p.m., Mondays and Thursdays

Where: Moffat County High School track, 900 Finely Lane

— Kids from kindergarten through sixth-grade are still able to register for the program, which includes practice sessions learning events like hurdles, shot put, high jump and more. Registration is $16 and includes a t-shirt. The final track meet will take place at 5 p.m. May 14. Parents and friends are welcome to attend. For more information, call Michele Chalmers at 824-5522.

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for the Daily Press

Moffat County High School senior Johnny Landa shows the proper foot placement used in the high jump to a group of young track students at Thursday’s practice session for the Moffat County Youth Track program. Landa was one of many MCHS varsity track team members who, along with other volunteers, are helping prepare participants in kindergarten through sixth-grade for the program’s May 14 track meet.

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for the Daily Press

Dave Pressgrove, a coach for the Moffat County High School varsity track and field team, demonstrates the hand-off for the baton used in the relay to kids at a session of the Moffat County Youth Track program. More than 140 children have attended the program in recent weeks.

At most track and field events, you won’t find a high jump bar that bounces up and down, nor will you find hurdles that could be used for a croquet game. And if you drop the sphere usually used in the shot put, you could hobble home with a broken toe.

But, the smaller, lighter versions of these items help the future track athletes of tomorrow get a jump start on the sport.

More than 140 boys and girls have turned out the last couple weeks for the Moffat County Youth Track program at the Moffat County High School track. Starting April 16, children from kindergarten through sixth-grade have had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of track and field events such as the hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put and running relays in a clinic run by adults and MCHS athletes with experience in the sport.

Organizer Michele Chalmers said the plan was to expand the program from the Little Feet Fun Meet hosted in 2010 and 2011. Instead of spending only one day running, jumping and throwing, kids spend eight practices mastering each event before the actual meet, which is May 14.

“The whole idea is to introduce them to what track is,” she said. “The meet will be more of a fun thing, and we’ll be giving out ribbons in each heat. Some of the kids don’t make it to every practice because they have other things going, but they love it. I haven’t heard one single kid say, ‘I’m bored.’”

Chalmers added she was very pleased with the turnout for each practice, more than twice what she expected.

“In the past, they’d had about 60 show up for the meet, so this is great,” she said.

Chalmers and other volunteering parents were joined by MCHS varsity track coach Todd Trapp, as well as the fellow coaches and runners on his team.

“We get them after their practice, and they seem to like working with the younger kids,” Chalmers said.

MCHS track stars like Alfredo Lebron, Garrett Spears, Johnny Landa and more helped teach the proper technique needed at each station, aided by equipment more accessible for the younger set.

Rather than a firm bar, a strip of rubber tubing was stretched above the mat used for the high jump. Likewise, the hurdles were wickets raised about one foot off the ground and the balls used for the shot put were small rubber ones weighing only about two pounds.

As 8-year-old Halle Hamilton went into position on her turn to throw, her mom, Keri, was there to cheer her on.

Though she enjoyed all the track and field events, Halle said her favorite was the hurdles, partly because it was similar to her usual sport, basketball.

“I just like jumping and running and being able to go fast,” she said.

Halle said she also enjoyed learning from high school students.

“I like working with Miguel Molina,” she said.

Keri said she appreciated all the effort by the MCHS students and organizers.

“I think this is a great program, getting all the kids out and involved in track,” Keri said. “Plus, it’s a great fundraiser for the track team.”

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