HERSHEY, PA., Two qualifiers from Ilion's Local Hershey's Track & Field Games, one each from Rome, Poland and Skaneateles that also won the NYS West State meet at Rome Free Academy on June 18th have qualified for the North American Finals to be held at Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania on August 6.

Ilion's Lauren Gravelding, who won four events at the State meet is advancing in the Girls 11-12 Softball Throw, she qualified with a throw of 127' 11. Bryce Zagachek from Holland Patent has qualified in the Boys 13-14 1600 Meter Run with a time of 5:02.09.

Boys 13-14 Softball Thrower (187'1) Nick Powers from Poland and from Whitesboro, Nicholas Ashton, 800 Meter Run (2:17.12) will round out the five NYS West qualifiers.

Making her fourth straight appearance in the NA finals will be Girls 13-14 Standing Long Jumper Rachael Miller from Baldwinsville who set a new State Record with a leap of 8' 6 ¾ . Miller won the North American Finals in this same event two years ago in the 11-12 age group.

Noah Williams, Canandaigua 11-12 Boys Standing Long Jump has accepted an invitation to compete in the North American Finals as the #1 qualifier from NYS East has withdrawn. Noah took first place in 2009 in the 9-10 50 Meter Dash. NYS West is part of Region Seven (Mid-Atlantic) that includes. Delaware; Maryland; New Jersey; New York East; Pennsylvania; Quebec, Canada; Nunavut, Canada; Washington, D.C.

Hershey's Track & Field Games has served as a launching pad for several top Olympic athletes and World Champions including Justin Gatlin, Monique Henderson and Bershawn Jackson. This year's North American Final Meet will enable the 480 participants to compete.

I am one of the many athletes who have used this program as a springboard to reach the highest level of track and field competition, said Gatlin. Hershey's Track & Field Games gives kids the opportunity to do more than experience the thrill of an international competition. It illustrates to young athletes that hard work and dedication can lead to great rewards. I am thrilled to be associated with The Hershey Company in this wonderful program. Created in 1975, the Hershey's Track & Field Games is the largest youth sports program of its kind in the United States and Canada. Meets take place in every state and Canadian province in North America, and the grand finale — the North American Final Meet

The goal of Hershey's Track & Field Games is to introduce children to physical fitness through basic events like running, jumping and throwing. But the program also strives to encourage children to reach their potential and develop a sense of accomplishment. If interested in joining this exciting program in 2012, please contact Local and State Meet Coordinator, Dave Williams at 894-5636 or davew@ilionhershey.com.

Pictures maybe found at: http://www.myhometownsports.net/article.php?id=3077