Learning to get longer
MINOOKA — It must be the unofficial halfway point of the summer. That is considering that the second Indian Pride Track and Field Meet of the summer just passed on Tuesday over at Minooka Community High School.
“Last time out we had well over 120 participants and we’re always looking to build off of that,” event organizer Kevin Gummerson said. “It’s another great night for track and field. We like to see more and more people come out.”
As per usual, the event got started with a free instructional clinic. This year is was conducted by John Gregg, a track and field coach at Minooka grade school.
“He wanted to help out today, so he’s stepping up and helping with the long jump clinic,” Gummerson said.
About 35 kids of varying ages were on hand to learn about the long jump on Tuesday.
“Basically it’s run, then jump and reach with your feet,” Gregg said when asked how he could boil the long jump down to little kids in the most simple of forms.
Then Gregg walked through the traits that make for a good long jumper.
“Right now I just want to teach them how to get into the air. That’s the first step,” Gregg said. “After that, then you worry about how fast you can run. Then you concentrate on your positioning on the board so that you end up not scratching.
“After that, it’s about what you are doing in the air because we want them to stretch it out and make it a longer jump,” he added. “Landing, just kind of happens really. But there is landing techniques and stuff because you want to be going forward. That’s because they are going to measure whatever part of your body that lands closest to the board.”
Gregg’s daughter Jasmine is a two-time state qualifier for Minooka as both a seventh and eighth grader at the middle school. She was also on hand to help out.
“I’ve been coming here ever since like sixth grade,” she said. “I like that anyone can compete. From families to little kids.”
John Gregg said that this is also his third time at the community event.
“This is my third time at the Indian Pride Meets. It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a good thing to get the kids interested in track. And it also gets the community interested in track, too.”
The junior high teams have done so much better the last couple of years and the high school team has done so much better and this is a part of that. It helps raise the awareness of the sport and to get the kids involved.”
As mentioned, this was the second of three annual events run as Indian Pride Meets. The last one this summer, the one on July 23, though will be geared more toward long distance running and it will also be held at the Channahon Community Park — the home course of the Minooka cross country team.
“We’ll have a few sprint races, but it’s going to be held on the cross country course. We’re going to get some hay bales out there and the runners are going to be able to jump over them,” Gummerson said. “We’re looking to close out the summer with something different. We have a three-mile race and we also have a three by one-mile race if people want to run with partners and break it down.”
As usual, a place where athletes can hone their skills and get better.
“The key is to work hard and practice all the time,” Jasmine Gregg said. “Also, always look to your older athletes and coaches for advice.”