SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — Abington Heights junior Emma Marion wishes she became involved with running at an earlier age.
That sense of regret is part of the reason Marion teamed up with fellow running enthusiast Katie Dammer to organize a track meet for young boys and girls in the school district to fulfill their senior project requirement.
Dammer also felt that while there are kids’ fun runs as part of many 5K races, there was a void when it comes to track and field.
“We’re both on the cross country and track teams and really like running,” Dammer said. “We want to share the idea of running with younger kids. I’ve done road races since I was a little kid and I know a track meet would be something totally different. We also know enough about the sport that we can put it together.”
Registration for the Future Stars Track Meet, for kids ages 4-10, will be held from 2 to 2:40 p.m. with the races to begin at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26 at the Abington Heights High School track. There is no cost to participate.
Marion was introduced to the sport of cross country by Dammer and was hooked from the start.
“Katie brought me to a conditioning practice in seventh grade,” Marion said. “I really got into the sport and loved it. Once I became a freshman, I really bought into it, competitively.”
While there are many sports to participate in at the youth and high school level, Dammer believes success in cross country and track and field can be obtained through hard work and determination more so than some other options.
“It’s very fair in the fact that everyone gets equal opportunity,” Dammer said. “Every time you go to a meet, everyone covers the same ground and everyone does the same thing. It gives anyone the opportunity to be good at it. If you start working harder and putting more time into it, you will see direct results and you don’t get that with a lot of other sports.”
The event will consist of a 50-meter race for athletes who are 4-5 years-old, a 100-, 200- and 400-meter race for all participants; an 800-meter race for athletes who are 7-10 years-old; and a softball throw and long jump, both open to athletes between the ages of 4-10 years-old. The winners of each event will receive a ribbon.
In order to satisfy the senior project requirement, the two girls will complete 25 hours of service work, between planning and running the event.
“There are many different options,” Dammer said. “You can build or create something, you can do 25 hours of service work, or you can do a 10-page research paper.”
The project must be completed by the third quarter of each student’s junior year.
Michael Ludka, coach of the Abington Heights cross country and track teams, is serving as their faculty mentor and other team members will be assisting them on race day.
A rain date was set for Sunday, Aug. 28. Updates will be provided on the Abington Heights High School Facebook page.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.