Hershey's Track & Field Games brought an end to Grant Kersh's winning ways.
The young Kent athlete and St. Patrick's School student finished 12th out of 13 competitors in his softball throw event this past weekend at the games, sponsored by The Hershey Company and held at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA.
In 2009, Grant took first in the softball throw at the national competition in Hershey. To qualify for Saturday's games, Kersh placed first in a softball throw competition held recently in Kent and again at the state-level competition held in Columbus. He also had the best distance in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Ontario, Canada.
Grant tried his best but couldn't get a very good elevation on his throw, his mom, Jodi Kersh, said. He was not too disappointed though, because he knows he worked hard to get to this level and it was exciting just to make it to the national meet again this year. He is looking forward to competing again next year, and hopes to make it to the finals again.
Grant was among 450 athletes to make it to the finals out of 250,000 youngsters who competed at the local level across the U.S.
Jodi Kersh said they flew in to the games from Columbus on Thursday, and on Friday The Hershey Company treated the athletes to a tour of the chocolate factory plus admission to the company's amusement park. Thursday night, the athletes heard from Olympic gold medalists Rafer Johnson and Carl Lewis.
The chocolate maker picked up all travel expenses for the athletes, including meals and activities.
It was a really good experience and he met a lot of great people, Jodi Kersh said. We were very proud of him and thankful to everyone who supported him.
Grant is no stranger to competition. A seventh-grade student at St. Patrick's School, Kersh is on the track team and plays baseball there. The young athlete also plays baseball for the Summit County Buzzsaws and football for the Seton Crusaders.
He also scored a third-place finish in the the NFL's Punt, Pass & Kick contest in January.