All 10 Middle Schools Compete at Track & Field Meet
Ten teams racing to make the big jump into high school gathered Tuesday afternoon at East’s Williams Stadium for the annual DMPS Middle School Track & Field Meet. Students from Brody, Callanan, Goodrell, Harding, Hiatt, Hoyt, McCombs, Meredith, Merrill and Weeks all took part in the competition.
Here are some of the sights and sounds:
- Pennants at the entrance were starched by the wind and pointed like arrows showing the way inside.
- At 2:52 the starter’s pistol fired to begin the girls’ 1600 meters and the meet was off and running. Within one lap the tightly bunched pack had been stretched like taffy. After four, exhaustion looked the same on the stragglers as on the frontrunners.
- The west stands were polka-dotted with colorful pods of athletes waiting for their events to be called: Hiatt gold; McCombs maroon; Callanan orange; Meredith green; Brody cardinal red; Weeks royal blue…
- Goal post uprights wiggled in the wind.
- Laughing competitors playfully talking pre-race smack on benches in the infield slumped back down afterwards, speechlessly gasping side-by-side.
- Relay units getting on the same page about which hands to use in their exchanges; now passing metallic batons emblazoned “let’s go to work” instead of notes in class. Some of the transitions from one leg of the race to the next were awkward like early driving lessons as the racers learn to gauge relative speed and distance.
- Spent runners swapped questions about planned sports in high school. “You gonna play basketball?” one heaving quarter miler asked another when they were done, who nodded. Neither said so but it seemed they might have been considering that, while basketball does require lots of running, none of it is into a steady headwind.
- As one cramping runner not yet wise to the ways and means of pacing labored down the stretch of the boys’ 1600 with one hand across his belly as though fending off nausea he was juxtaposed for a long moment with a gentleman draped along the fence line dipping nachos into cheese sauce. He gutted it out.
- The water wagon with yellow, curly-cued nozzles running from it was almost a toy at first, like a high-powered battery of squirt guns mounted on wheels. After a few races it was a go-to series of lifelines.
- The infield was full of tape and ice and Gatorade. The stands were full of phones and popcorn and parents.
When the meet crossed the finish line one general point was scored that trumped all of the others.
Memo to East, Hoover, Lincoln, North and Roosevelt: the middle schoolers are coming, and they’re coming fast! On your marks, get set…