HERSHEY’S Inspires


Stacey Warren, Reporter

Track and field is a sport of strength, sweat, and adrenaline. In Woodland Park, young students take this motto above and beyond.

The high school hosts an especially significant annual track meet for runners, throwers and jumpers aged 9-14. The HERSHEY’S track and field meet is a nationwide competition that Woodland Park has the honor of participating in.  The event is held on May 19 and is organized by the city’s Parks and Recreation department and HERSHEY’S staff.

Leading up to the big day, the numerous participants are recommended to exert themselves through jogs around the block, timed sprints, and whatever they need to do to ensure a win.

Confidence runs high in each of the young athletes, each believes wholeheartedly that they are going to take home the first place trophy.

The only restriction on who can participate is age.  Everybody within the age group is invited to come try their hand on their chosen event(s).

Events are separated by age and gender. Certain events are available for the youngest and oldest of contestants and there are the same events for both boys and girls, although they are separate.  This way, it is more fair when the nine year olds cannot run quite as fast as the 14 year olds with longer legs.

Hershey’s track and field games have been around for 37 years, but have not been in Woodland Park quite as long. Their motto is to motivate excellence and bring people together. These meets happen across the nation, encouraging kids to get fit and “inspire a more active generation.”

If you work hard enough at your event and qualify, students are invited to the North American Final in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Winners of this meet get to tour the chocolate factory, have fun at HERSHEY’S chocolate world, and visit Hersheypark.

In comparison to regular middle and high school track meets, the Hershey’s track and field meet has little variance. The major difference is it is more or less competitive, depending on the student. The goal is to have a good time, but for some kids, winning is the only way to do so. There are much bigger stakes in winning the HERSHEY’S meet, due to the possible trip at the end of it.

The meet is attended by a lot of the town in support of the young athletes. Volunteers are also accepted and greatly appreciated. As a volunteer, one could be expected to gather equipment, be an announcer, or run the registration desk.

To get involved, stop by the parks and recreation office to pick up a registration form and have it turned in as soon as possible.

Woodland Park truly is the city above the clouds, and we keep on reaching up.