Youth Cross Country Challenge Boosts Season Opener Participation
FINLEYVILLE, PA – Despite the chilly and rainy conditions, dozens of youth athletes made their way to Mingo Creek Park for the first cross country meet of the season on Saturday, October 3rd. Hosted by Pacers Track Club, 55 athletes braved the mud and slush to post the best participation numbers for a season opener in over 4 years. The first two meets usually set the tone for the youth cross country program and it appears to be headed in the right direction. According to Youth Cross Country Chair, Robert Williams, “This is going to be a very good season!”
High numbers were fueled by the Youth Cross Country Challenge. It is a new competitive series designed to increase interest in the sport and highlight the benefits of distance running. The series consists of 5 meets plus the Association Championships where athletes run and earn points towards a final series score. Bonus points will be awarded if athletes and teams attend more meets. Individuals and teams will be rewarded at the end of the series.
The competition aspect is not only drawing more athletes, but more TRA member clubs. In years past, athletes would represent 4-5 clubs at a given meet. A total of 9 clubs participated in the first meet with Pacers Track Club and Penn Hills Eagles bringing more than 10 athletes each. The meet also welcomed new member club Ligonier Valley YMCA who brought 6 athletes. Other clubs included:
- East Allegheny
- Future Stars Athletics
- Greensburg YMCA
- River City Elite TC
- Valley Speedsters
- Wings of Moon
Another program perk is that every athlete who participates in each meet will be entered into a random drawing to win cool USATF merchandise and swag. Winners will be contacted via email the following week.
Be sure to follow the action on Facebook and Twitter using #TRAyxcc
For complete Youth Cross Country Challenge information including meet dates and locations, participation rules, and series scores visit the program page found here.