DUBOIS — The DuBois area high school track and field team recently sponsored their 2nd annual skills and drill camp for students in grades 5-8, and more than 30 students attended three days of athletic instruction from high school coaches and athletes. .
“We had great turnout again this year,” said varsity girls track and field coach Justin Marshall. “The weather was definitely warmer than expected, but the kids worked hard and we had a great week.”
Marshall, an assistant to girls’ track and field head coach Scott Sullivan for the past 16 years, came up with the idea for a skills and drill camp last spring as a way to help improve interest in college athletics.
“We had our very first camp last summer, with about 20 kids or so,” Marshall noted. “The season was canceled in 2020 due to Covid, and we only had about 20 kids in total in the college athletics program in 2021. I thought a camp might be a way to increase interest and participation in sport.
“We had talked about the low numbers and how we were starting to feel the effects of that at the college level. Many kids have the misconception that the track is just a distance race, and they walk away from it.
“We emphasize that there are 18 events in track and field…11 on track, four jumps and three throws. Even the track events are divided into three sprints, three mid-distances, three distances and two hurdles. There really is something for everyone. So I spent this winter talking to middle school kids and encouraging them to give it a try in the spring.
The program saw immediate results this spring, as more than 80 students signed up for athletics. Marshall credits the track camp with helping get the ball rolling.
“Most of the kids who came to camp last summer signed up this spring,” Marshall said. “Many of them told their friends about it and how much they enjoyed the camp, and some of those friends signed up as well. The numbers were excellent this spring. We are really excited about the resurgence and how it will hopefully have a positive impact in the future.
Marshall pays tribute to the staff and athletes who have contributed to the success of the camp over the past two years.
“Organizing a great camp like this for kids only comes with a lot of help,” Marshall said. “With 18 events, one or two people can’t train everything. I want to thank Head Coach Scott Sullivan, Assistant Coaches Bill Edwards and Lindi Beers, and current high school track and field athletes Lauren Stroka, Peyton Grimm, Jaylee Battaglia, Gabby Horner, Sarah DeFazio, Morgan Roemer, Morgan Rothrock , Abbie McCoy and Andrew Shaffer. -Doan for all their help. This camp is not made without them.
Marshall also wanted to invite any middle school or high school student who is considering trying athletics.
“It’s a great sport,” he said. “All of our coaches were track and field athletes when they were in high school, and some in college. This is a great opportunity for anyone considering trying a sport.