Kids compete in Hershey’s track competition in Cedar Lake
By Anthony D. Alonzo Post-Tribune correspondent June 12, 2013 11:14PM
Calumet Junior Striders members check the event board at the trials for the Hershey's Track & Field Games held at Hanover Central High School on May 23. First and second place finishers in each event at Cedar Lake will advance to state finals in Muncie on July 6.
hershey’s track & Field games results
Trials for the Hershey’s Track & Field Games were hosted by Hanover Central and Cedar Lake Parks on May 23.
The Top two finishers in each event advance to the state event that will be held at Muncie Central on July 6. Below is a list of qualifiers:
4x100 relay: Reilly Knestrict, Abby Flens, Isabelle Medina and Marissa Phillips (girls 9-10); Allie Smith, Lily Cash, Javiera Campbell and Gianna Ballard, (girls 11-12).
50 meters: Bryce Noble (boys 9-10); Nevaen Govert, Brianna Murdock (girls 9-10).
100 meter: Landin Ready, Cameron Phillips (boys 9-10); Joel Holtcamp, Austin Fanta (boys 11-12); Navaen Govert, Madison Flewelling (girls 9-10); Abby McCampbell, Riley Knestrict (girls 11-12); Kira Scheulka, Danielle Ramsey (girls 12-13).
200 meter: Bryce Noble, Danny Kelly (boys 9-10); Joel Holtcamp, Austin Fanta (boys 11-12); Reilly Boyer, Isabella Medina (girls 9-10); Lily Cash, Javiera Gamble (girls 11-12); Kira Schuelka (girls 13-14).
400 meter: Landin Ready, Anthony Saberniak (boys 9-10); Cameron Phillips, Montgomery Stockton-Fressa (boys 11-12); Reilly Boyer, Isabella Medina (girls 9-10); Jordyn Boyer, Allie Smith (girls 11-12).
800 meter: Montgomery Stockton-Fressa (boys 11-12); Hunter Boyer, Tristen Comer (boys 13-14); Jordyn Boyer, Allie Smith (girls 11-12); Jesse Missal, Izzy Iussig (girls 13-14).
1,600 meter: Hunter Boyer, Tristen Comer (boys 13-14); Jessie Missal, Izzy Iussing (girls 13-14).
Softball throw: Bryce Noble, Landin Ready (boys 9-10); Cameron Phillips, Alex Horon (boys 11-12); Tristen Comer, Hunter Boyer (boys 13-14); Reilly Boyer, Nevaen Govert (girls 9-10); Elizabeth Reyes, Jordyn Boyer (girls 11-12); Danielle Ramsey (girls 13-14).
Standing long jump: Anthony Saberniak, Danny Kelly (boys 9-10); Cameron Sawaska, Alex Horon (boys 11-12); Madison Flewelling, Isabella Medina (girls 9-10); Abigail McCampbell (girls 11-12); Kira Scheulka, Jessie Missal (girls 13-14).
Updated: July 15, 2013 7:09PM
Just about every youth at the local trials for a national track and field competition thought about how sweet it would be for them to advance to Hershey, Pa.
First and second place finishers in each boys and girls event at the Hershey’s Track & Field Games local open meet hosted at Hanover Central on May 23 were one step closer to being among 480 elite competitors at the chocolate company-sponsored event.
Parents and friends gathered in the Hanover field sports building avoiding the chilly breezes outside; for the first time in 17 years, the local event was moved to the indoor track. They cheered on first-place strides and bite-sized progress among the 9- to 14-year-old competitors.
“I think we see some amazing athletes because we’re drawing from across south Lake County,” said Mary Joan Dickson, Cedar Lake Parks director and longtime Hershey’s event coordinator. “It’s awesome to see the little angels here become (running stars).”
Dozens of area kids and teens raced in several events, including 50-, 100- 200- and 400-meter runs. Distance runners could opt for 800- and 1,600-meter competitions. Field activities, including a softball throw, were available for the athletes to complete their requirement of participating in two track contests and one field event.
Many of the youths at the Hershey’s trials were affiliated with the Calumet Region Striders track club as junior members. Some of the competitors were independent and counted their families as their main motivators. All wanted to make it to Muncie for the state finals on July 6.
In a strangely sedentary period between track and cross country seasons, some looked at the trials as a measuring stick for their offseason progress. Other sports have travel clubs, but runners don’t often get the spotlight until they participate in high school.
“Regardless of (an athlete’s) level of fitness, the main thing we try to instill — myself personally as a coach — is life skills,” said Junior Striders coach Jorge Ramos. “If you put a little work or effort into something, you’re usually going to do better.
“At (the Hershey’s trials) they all get a participation ribbon. At that age, it’s all about encouragement and praise.”
Comparing times from state finalists in geographic regions, the top competitors — averaging out to about 10 per state — will earn an all-expense-paid trip to the home of the “Great American Chocolate Bar.”
For a day in August 2011, Sara Ramos was a kid — a fast kid — in a candy store. She advanced beyond local, state and region competitors to earn a trip to Hershey, Pa., where she ran in the 800.
“It was amazing,” said Ramos, now 13. “They paid for everything… We went in the chocolate factory, we went to Hershey Park, and we met Carl Lewis.”
Ramos ran on the Grimmer Middle School cross country team and will attend Lake Central in the fall. She is also a Junior Cal Strider.
Looking on was fellow Strider Landin Ready, 9, who notched a 19:12 in the 100, good enough for a first place. The Eisenhower Elementary School student and Crown Point resident said he wished they had a “Boys on the Run” program for younger students to match the girls program by the same name.
At Hanover, the competition was sometimes thin, especially in the oldest boys categories: no one raced in the 100-, 200- and 1,600-meter events. Eager young runners stocked other events and created some close finishes like in the 13- to 14-year-old boys 800 where Hunter Boyer (2:30:53) edged out Tristen Comer (2:32:69).
“I think it’s the second time I’ve done Hershey’s and the second time I’ve made it to state,” said Boyer, who will participate in the 1,600, 800 and softball toss at Muncie Central in July. “It’s a cool experience.”
In the 9- and 10-year-old girls 50, both athletes will be headed to Muncie. Nevaen Govert bested Brianna Murdock’s time 6.97 to 7.56. Govert’s mark was a record breaker in the local event’s history.
New records were also established by Javeria Gamble’s 32.22 in the 200; Kira Schuelka tied the standing long jump record of Krystra Rickey (6-8 in 2002 at Hanover Central track). Each of the record-setters received a trophy for their performance.
Dickson recalled the years when some of her children ran in the event. For almost two decades, she said Hanover schools have opened up their facilities for the annual event. In recent years, a parks department volunteer corps has coordinated the event from the races to the basic (but important) awards presentation.