Students prepare for regional meet

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.| South Charlotte Weekly | December 2, 2010

Students in elementary and middle schools across the Carolinas came together Nov. 13 to compete in a unique cross-country competition.

The event, which took place at McAlpine Greenway Park in south Charlotte, was the city championship for Cross Country for Youth, a fitness program brought to area schools by program founder Reggie McAfee.

In the middle school girls’ competition, Carmel Middle came in first, followed by Randolph IB Middle in second and Bailey Middle in third. Randolph IB Middle’s Jazzmone Boyd won the individual award among the middle school girls.

 In the middle school boys’ competition, Bailey Middle came in first. Carmel Middle placed second, and Randolph IB Middle finished third. Bailey Middle’s Igor Bayluck was the individual winner among the middle school boys.

In the elementary school competition, Charlotte’s Greater Enrichment Program took first, followed by Winterfield Elementary in second and Smith Academy of International Languages in third.

Jennifer Celado of Winterfield Elementary won the elementary girls’ competition and Jermaine Lowery of Walter G. Byers Elementary won the elementary boys’ competition.

This year, administrators chose to offer the program at Bruns and Winterfield elementary schools in Charlotte, as well as Sugar Creek Elementary in Fort Mill, S.C.
Schools also offered the program at Charlotte’s, Carmel, Eastway, Piedmont Open, Randolph IB, Ranson, Sedgefield, Spaugh and Wilson middle schools, as well as Bailey Middle in Cornelius and Sullivan Middle in Fort Mill.

Smith Academy of International Languages, a south Charlotte magnet school serving students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, also participated.

Students met twice a week after school for 90 minutes – an hour of running and training and 30 minutes of character development.

The program lasted for 10 weeks, and students competed in practices and a series of local cross country meets. The meets were designed to help the students improve their training habits, as well as introduce them to the competitive side of cross country. Familiarity with both will serve the students well should they choose to pursue cross country in high school or beyond.

The character development program introduced students to the concepts of teamwork, commitment, sportsmanship, respect, responsibility, discipline, integrity, leadership, perseverance and courage. The program invited members of the community to participate by helping to deliver the character-development messages.

Students at schools that offer Cross Country for Youth pay $125 to participate. The program fee includes 10 weeks of lessons and cross-country training, as well as registration fees for competitions and T-shirts. Scholarships are available for qualifying students.

Many of the students who competed at the city championship will return to McAlpine Greenway Park Saturday, Nov. 27, for the regional competition, which is sponsored by Foot Locker. Runners from schools across 15 southern states will join them in their fight for a regional title and a shot at attending the national competition, which is scheduled for Dec. 11 in San Diego, Calif.

The national event is the culmination of the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, a series of annual cross country races held in regions across the U.S. to find the best runner in various age divisions.

Charlotte’s Cross Country for Youth organization will hold an appreciation banquet for all of the 2010 runners and volunteers Dec. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Beatties Ford Road.

To learn more about Cross Country for Youth or the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, visit www.crosscountryforyouth.org and www.footlockercc.com/.