After a month of concentrated training, high school and middle school track and field athletes are off to their first meet of the season in Prince George tomorrow.
The meet is the first of the competitive season for the South Peace Secondary School and Central Middle School students as they will open in the interior city after beginning training shortly after the Easter long weekend.
The season will finish where it begins in mid-June back in Prince George at the Spruce Capital Track and Field Competition.
In between, the athletes will go to several other local competitions, and the more skilled competitors may qualify for the B.C. provincial high school championships.
Close to 30 athletes from the two schools work out as many as three times a week indoors at SPSS or CMS where they train in their particular track or field event and also work on their overall conditioning.
"There has been an increase of athletes coming out because we share both campuses," explained Richard Payne, who coaches along with CMS vice-principal Trevor Kolkea and SPSS physical education teacher Eric Wolf.
"We have had 25-30 kids come out.and we haven't even got the younger guys from the elementary schools coming out. I am thinking they will be coming out when the weather gets a little better and we are training outside."
The bulk of the team are track athletes - sprinters, middle distance and long distance runners and hurdlers; however, there are also several throwers and jumpers and many new kids who have decided to give the sport a try this spring.
"There are a lot of new faces which is great to see for a coach who likes to see new interest," said Payne, adding that some of the track and field participants are also skilled athletes in other sports.
"There are a few baseball players and a few hockey players."