Hundreds of students flooded Badger Stadium last week ready to race, leap, and cheer on their teammates during the annual Madera County Mountain Track Meet.
The meet is designed to let athletes from third to eighth grade, in both Mountain Area and Valley schools, compete in events such as the 100 meter dash, high jump, and hurdles.
“This gets them to experience something they may not have experienced before,” said Walker Vaughn, Yosemite High track coach. “Anyone can do track, and hopefully they’ll get to enjoy the sport and be interested in taking it further to high school.”
Smiles abounded on the face of nearly every competitor as they rooted on both their teammates and opponents on the hunt for wins.
“This feels good,” said Zev Grifalconi, 8, a North Fork Elementary School student who placed third in the Bantum Division of the 100 meter dash with a time of 16.10. “It’s nice to come out here and have fun.”
“I was hoping I could run faster,” joked Elijah Malick, 9, who finished behind Grifalconi. “But you can’t win every time.”
Though Mountain Area students comprised the majority of attendees, some from Valley schools made their marks as well.
Gennah Sanchez, 14, from Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Madera, easily claimed first place in the Youth Division 400 meter race with a time of 1:01.
“It felt great to come out here and compete for the Valley,” Sanchez said, in between breaths after finishing her race with a 10-second lead. “Plus this is a really nice place and it’s just a good time being out here.”
Participating schools at the event included: Coarsegold, Rivergold, Raymond, North Fork, Spring Valley , Wasuma, and Oakhurst elementary schools; Oak Creek Intermediate; Mountain Home School; and three schools from Madera - Martin Luther King Middle School, Cesar Chavez Elementary, and Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
Many of the Yosemite High School track team assisted in the event, which lasted from 9 a.m. to shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 28.
Full results are available by visiting http://bit.ly/1VJ3OEF.