Photo by David Sokol
Jennifer O’Neill times Maximo Rincon, 10, as he breaks the finish line in a sprint, edging out Chris McKenna, 10, who also finished well.
By Ginny Garland
GateHouse News Service

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Three Beverly YMCA Running Clubs met recently at McKeown Elementary School’s backfield for what promises to be the first of a yearly tradition - at track meet.

Students from Ayers Ryal Side Elementary, Hannah Elementary and McKeown Elementary Schools had come together participate in their chosen events.

“Who wants to have fun? Who is going to try his or her hardest? Who is going to be a good sport?” called out Kurt Anderson, McKeown teacher and running club advisor.

Students chose three events from the following: a 1 mile run, a 1 mile by four person relay, a 50- yard dash, a 25-yard dash, 4 x 50 relay, 4 x 25 relay, hurdles, long jump, and an obstacle course. Fifth graders could participate in a special 1.5-mile run.

“This year’s track meet was the idea of Roberta Shropshires. She is the coach for the Hannah program and is a physical education teacher at both Hannah and McKeown. This year, we felt like we had three well organized programs. I liked the idea of the McKeown runners meeting kids from other schools who were doing the same things. It promoted healthy competition in a fun and safe environment,” said Anderson. “Another benefit of the track meet is that the runners had an opportunity to meet Jennifer O’Neil who runs the Middle School Cross Country Program, thus improving the chances that the kids will stick with running for more than a year or two.” 

“This is my first year running so this is my first track meet. I chose to do the 50-yard dash, the 25-yard dash, and the obstacle course,” said Tom Gallione, an Ayers Ryal Side third-grade student.

Ayers Ryal Side Elementary School team members, some in navy and white jerseys, included Patrick Avigian, Kendel Davy, Thomas Gallione, Andrew Gallione, Breanne Grimes, Ryan Shumria, Rachel Murphy, Clinton Cabral, Alison Colman, Katie Estabrook, Jacob Gillen, Bryon Girard, Brandon Girard, Austin Newman, Alexa Rhodes, Isabelle Straw, Kassidi DeStefano.

“The McKeown Running Club began four years ago. We offer clubs in the fall and in the spring for five- to eight-week sessions. We do not practice with the Hannah and Ayers runners,” said Anderson.

“Practice time at the YMCA is usually on Thursday afternoon for an hour,” said McKeown fifth graders and friends, Jeremy Baker and Nick Donovan. “We like to do fast things – like the 50-yard dash.”

McKeown Elementary School team members, some wearing green and white shirts, included Ryan Anderson, Sarah Andrews, JJ Bachini, Jeremy Baker, Dylan Campbell, Nichole Cinserulli, Megan Collins, Samm Corbet, Carolyn Crowley, Julianna Devitt, Nick Donovan, Dylan DeSilva, Bridget Gallagher, Michael Grande, Nathan Higgins, Daniel Lee, Drew Lee, Chris McKenna, Alex Marcus, Megan Marocco,  Thomas Millanes, Drew Oakley, Ryan Oakley, Casey Oliver, Colin Oliver, Thomas Rhoades, Shelby Robinson, and  Rachel Spencer.

Hannah Elementary School has had a running club since the 2002/2003 school year. This year, the club started at the end of April, and practiced on after school on Mondays.

“I like running the long distances best. I also like being with my friends and my sister,” said Emily Walsh, a fifth-grade student from Hannah.

 Hannah Elementary School team members included Ben Ayers, Emma Beaudoin, Liam Beaudoin, Erica Beaudry, Carly Blau, Owen Bolas, Elizabeth Coughlin, Ace Cowans, Elias Crandell, Meredith Enright, Alexander Greco, Ashleen Joseph, Cody Lemire, Maximo Rincon, Maja Roglic, Adeeb Shaji, Abby Walsh, and Emily Walsh. The club’s advisors are Roberta Shropshire and Jennifer O’Neil. Suzanne Beaudoin was a parent volunteer this year.

“The track meet was a nice culminating event for our running club this year. It gave students an opportunity to get together with others in the city who also have a passion for running. Hopefully, next year the fifth graders will be teammates on the Briscoe Middle School Cross Country team,” said Shropshire.

“The focus was on fun and sportsmanship. We did not announce winners for the events. All participants received ribbons and certificates for their effort. The students were responsible for recording their times on the certificates,” said Anderson.

 “The benefits of the running club program go far beyond the track meet. The program teaches the kids about physical fitness and introduces them not only to the sport of running, but it also shows them that it can be a life-long activity. Students learn the value of setting goals and trying to surpass them.”