Fort Stewart hosts youth recreational track meet
April 30, 2009
<b> FORT STEWART, Ga. </B> --Young athletes, leaping into sand pits, bounding over high-jump bars, hurling shot-puts, and huffing and puffing their way to the finish line, filled the Quick Track stadium at Fort Stewart, April 25.
The athletes, ranging from seven to 14 years of age, displayed athletic feats while competing in the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association District 2 track and field meet, held annually at Fort Stewart.
The Fort Stewart boys won the GRPA event, and the girls finished second. Out of 70 Fort Stewart athletes, 46 advanced to the Georgia State Track Meet, which will take place May 8-9.
Teams participating in the event included Fort Stewart Youth Sports, Camden County Recreation, Appling County Recreation, Wayne County Recreation, Brunswick Recreation, and Douglas Coffee County Recreation.
The athletes were broken down into four age groups and by sex and competed in running and field events.
Jerome Washington, Fort Stewart Youth Sports Director, said that the track meet is something that the kids always look forward to.
"This track meet is huge for the kids and everyone else involved. These teams here today make up District 2 of Georgia's seven districts of recreation teams. Today serves as the regional meet, and the first, second, and third place winners from today will compete in Carollton, Ga., May 8 and 9 at the state competition," said Washington.
The sports director also added that the Fort Stewart recreational team has taken home first place for the past two years, beating out Camden County, who came in second both years, and the other teams in District 2.
"Yeah, our team has kept the first place trophy home for the last two years," he said. "Though Camden County and the other teams seem ready to run today, I still have faith that we'll bring it home again today," added a smiling Washington.
Fort Stewart's Keyiana Lindsey, winner of the 13-14 age group 100 m dash and 200 m dash and anchor leg for Fort Stewart Youth Sport's first place 4x100 winning team recreational team, seemed to be carried by the wind as she ran during the meet.
The 14 year-old, no "newbie" to track and field, competed in the meet last year, advancing to the state competition in two events.
"I'm really excited about winning first in the 100 and 200. I'm going to state again!" said a grinning Lindsey.
The young athlete said that she has always loved to run and has something very special to motivate her each time she is about to run a race.
"For the most part, I just go out there and do my best, but, when I think of my family, it makes me work harder to be number one," she said.
Parents, coaches, and other supporters rooted for the young athletes throughout the meet.
Sara Paulk, parent of Douglas Coffee County team member, Sakendra Paulk, said that she was happy to be at the meet supporting her daughter.
"Sakendra has been crazy about running since she was really, really small. To see her out there competing and running is wonderful, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world," said Sara.
One coach, who also participated in the event as an official for the high-jump event, said that this meet marked his eighth year helping with his team and the meet.
Retired sergeant first class, Anthony Holsendolph, coach for Fort Stewart Youth Services, said that his interest in helping and participating in the event was sparked back when his own kids were competing in the event.
"I can remember back when my kids were in grade school competing in this same event. Now, they are both nationally ranked athletes, running for Bradwell Institute here in Hinesville," he said.
According to Holsendolph, this event gives all the kids a chance to compete and to prepare for their future as athletes.
"Here at Fort Stewart, our kids practice three times a week, preparing for this meet and, ultimately, for the state meet. This shows them the importance of practicing and teachers them to perfect their crafts at early age," he said.
While the athletes all competed vigorously the entire day, Fort Stewart Youth Sports took the first place award with 470 points, followed by Camden County Recreation in second place with 429 points.
Individual results can be found on-line at www.exact-timing.com.