Local youth hone track and field skills

LAKEWOOD — For three days, Lakewood coaches led introduction and practice in the events of track and field.

On the fourth day, the 21 campers in the youth track and field camp offered by the city of Marysville's parks and recreation took to the field in competition.

Divided into two teams, Maroon and Gold, each camper competed in every single event on the camp's final day July 9, with every performance counting toward the teams' standing. Event champions earned 21 points for their team, down to the 21st-place camper earning a point. The contest was close, said Lakewood coach Jeff Sowards.

"It was a very close competition. We scored it so each kid would contribute to their team," Sowards said.

While Sowards and fellow coach Monica Rooney taught the event basics, over a dozen Lakewood athletes and recent alumni helped provide one-on-one instruction to campers in the various events.

Intended for athletes of all abilities, some campers were veterans of last summer's camp, the first one hosted by the Lakewood track team. Others were old enough to have tasted competition at the middle school level. Many more were trying the sport for the first time.

"What I think the kids will remember most is the encouragement and bits of instruction that comes from our athletes," Sowards added. "The campers really light up when those kids help them out. I can't say enough about the terrific job of our high school athletes and some alums to help out."

Even parents began sticking around to watch their sons and daughters learn event fundamentals.

The youth camp, designed for students up to age 14, is timed to lead into the city's third-annual all-comers track and field meet, a series of meets on Thursdays beginning July 23. That meet is for all ages, beginning 6 p.m. at the stadium at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

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