polo fleece On track for success
Calvin Capelle and Aidan Bennett exemplified the spirit and makeup of Laguna Beach’s annual youth track and field meet Friday at Laguna Beach High School.
The event acts as a qualifier for May’s Orange County track meet.
Calvin, a student at Journey School in Aliso Viejo, won both the 400 (1:09) and 800 (2:43) in his age division, Toman said. His 400 time was nearly four seconds better than last year, when he triumphed in 1:13 and set the record for 10 year olds.
The meet attracts girls and boys, some as young as 7, others as old as 14, for events such as long jump, high jump, softball throw and the 50 and 100 yard dash.
Anneliese School student Aidan, 10, was a first timer, and decided on the long jump.
“I like to try new things,” he said.
Each child had three jumps and Aidan saved his best for last 10 feet, 61/2 inches, to win his division.
“I tried to get as much momentum as possible,” Aidan said.
The meet resembled a laid back day in the park. Parents chatted with one another while kids tossed a football.
Competitors run the gamut from kids like Calvin, who are more serious about their events, to others trying for the first time.
“It’s controlled chaos,” Toman said. “Some run into each other’s lanes.”
Toman credited help from part time city staff and volunteers as instrumental to making the event a success. They clocked times as runners finished and logged distances in both the long and high jumps.
Registration fees ($16 for pre registration and $21 the day of the event) pay the district for facility use and compensate city staff who work the meet, Toman said. Children must live in the city or Laguna Beach Unified School District boundaries.
Toman estimated 35 children pre registered for an event he said used to draw hundreds of kids.
“[In the last few years] enrollments have steadily declined,” he said. “I don’t know why because every year we run it better.”
The top four finishers in each division qualify for the county meet May 4 at Laguna Hills High.
Fred Pichay, a Laguna Beach High track and field assistant coach, runs a spring program in which he works with children to refine their techniques before the county meet, Toman said.