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Making the leap

ConVal: Third annual elementary school track meet gets the future Cougars into some high-flying fun, running, racing and jumping

  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • Peterborough resident Annika Madeja, 9, put her best foot forward as she leaps into the long jump pit.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.
  • The ConVal track team held its third annual youth track day at the high school track on May 21.

The ConVal track team held its third annual elementary school track meet on Wednesday, May 21. The event exposes third and fourth grade students from around the district to the various disciplines of track and field.

“Our competition at the high school level have year-round track programs, its a huge advantage for them,” said head coach Thomas Mbungo.

Current members of the Cougars track team were on hand to lend their knowledge to the enthusiasm filled youngsters.

Senior middle-distance runner Riley Henry enjoyed mentoring the future of the ConVal track and field program.

“I had fun. This was the biggest group that we have ever had at this event,” said Henry in an interview on Friday. Henry has been involved with the track meet since its beginning, and enjoys donating his time to helping the local kids.

“I think this program is going to help the high school team improve later on,” said Henry.

“My favorite part about helping out the kids is watching their faces when they receive the trophies and seeing that they have an early interest in track,” he said.

The elementary school kids were split up into groups, assigned ConVal track athletes as coaches, and rotated between four track events: long jump, high jump, softball throw, and sprinting.

Many of the kids had never had the opportunity to try track and field, something that Mbungo believes is necessary to build a strong high school program.

“This is the third year doing this program for the kids. Current sixth and seventh graders were the first kids to go through this program. This is the age when you need to start track, it takes years to master the craft,” said Mbungo.

At the long jump pit, nine year olds Morgan Bemont and Katherine Craig shared their thoughts on the day in between jumps.

“My favorite event so far is softball throw because I play baseball,” said Bemont. “The reason that I like track is that I’m terrible at it, I want to improve,” added Craig.

A highlight of the day for spectators was the high jump, where parents and supporters watched as the youngsters dove over the elastic rope and onto the mat.

Peterborough resident Lewis LaFleur, 9, enjoyed his first experience high jumping.

“Landing on the mat is fun,” he said.

Fellow Peterborough resident Tommy Sennett became a big fan of the jumping events.

“I just like to jump. Long jump is my favorite event,” he said. Daniel McCall, 9, of Peterborough, also took a liking to the jumping events.

“I like the long jump because its a chance to get dirty,” said McCall.

For the sprinting portion of the program, the kids were assigned lanes on the track in front of the bleachers while their parents cheered them on as they raced 100 meters to the finish.

“I love sprinting because I get to run,” said Bryson Boice, 9, of Peterborough, after winning his heat. The afternoon was a success, medals and trophies were distributed to kids as they smiled and laughed. Coach Mbungo hopes that these good times will fuel the youngsters with passion for the sport.

“Track and field is not a sport for the faint of heart. You have to have passion for it or it will eat you up,” said Mbungo.

Seven-year-old first timer Zach Pease of Dublin may have summed up Mbungo’s wishes best, smiling and saying, “I’m definitely coming back next year.”

Dylan Fisher can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235, or dfisher@ledgertranscript.com.

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