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Young runners give it their best

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It was a welcome return.

A year ago, the Fastest Kid in Troup County meet was canceled because of COVID-19, but the event which brings together runners from the local elementary schools returned with a vengeance last week.

Boys and girls from the local schools competed in the 400-meter relay, the 200-meter dash, and the 60-meter dash.

Individual champions were crowned in the third-grade, fourth-grade, and fifth-grade divisions.

The meet was held on a perfect spring day at the Whitesville Road track, with parents able to come and watch their children compete.

“To have an event like that, with whoever in the town wanted to come out and see it, and come out and enjoy the kids having fun, was great,” said Matthew Batchelor, the event organizer.

Robyn McCann, a physical-education teacher at Callaway Elementary School, felt it was important to hold the event this year after what happened in 2020.

“Especially with this year, I wanted to do everything we possibly could with them because of everything we dealt with last year,” McCann said. “So there was no way I was letting them miss today.”

McCann added that her runners were “excited all week. They were excited at spring break.”

Kareem Douhne, a teacher at Hollis Hand who led that school’s track team, said his runners put in plenty of time and effort to prepare for the competition.

“I’m very proud of them with the work they put in at practice,” Douhne said. “They were nervous, but were ready to compete.”

Douhne believed holding the Fastest Kid competition was a big step for the students, who have dealt with so many changes over the past year.

“It was really good after not getting to do it last year,” Douhne said. “It’s like the first big thing they’ve got to do against other schools. It was a big day, and awesome weather. It was a lot of fun.”

The event ran smoothly, with a little more than an hour passing between the first event and the last one.

Batchelor appreciated everyone who helped out and made his job significantly less challenging.

“I had a lot of people step up the day of and helped me with things I was going to try to do myself. They showed up and volunteered,” Batchelor said. “There were so many past teachers I’ve coached with and dealt with in the past, I was grateful that a lot of people decided to come out and help out and volunteer their time.”

Student-athletes from the local high schools also helped out, and Batchelor was glad to have them there.

“My biggest thing was, bring these kids back who have been in the event,” Batchelor said. “Bring them back so the kids can see, he’s a track star, he’s a football star, he plays baseball. Show them it’s not just about track. And it’s fun for those kids to come back and see where they came from.”

OF NOTE: For more photos, check out Facebook.com/LDNSports