Haleyville Park & Rec offering track and field for the first time

HALEYVILLE - For the first time, Haleyville Parks and Recreation is offering a children’s track program this spring.
It its not limited to Haleyville residents.
“I’m hoping we (will have) a ton of kids,” said Joel Sherrill, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation. “The more the merrier.”
Children who want to participate must be aged 7-12 as of April 1, 2024, and need to sign up for the program by this Friday, March 1. There is a registration fee of $40.
“We’ll supply everything that they need,” Sherrill said.
There will be six parent-coached teams, a girls’ team and a boys’ team for three different age groups, ages 7-8, ages 9-10 and ages 11-12.
Practices will be held at the Haleyville High School track, probably after the HHS track team’s practices, with some of its members staying to help children prepare to compete in the track events of their choice.
“Usually, we don’t do any kind of practicing till 5:30 (p.m.),” Sherrill said.
The teams will attend three Alabama Parks and Recreation Association (APRA) track meets—on April 13 in Winfield, April 27 in Russellville and May 11 in Muscle Shoals—and will have the chance to qualify for the APRA state track meet. Families are responsible for their children’s transportation to the meets, which are likely to be day-long affairs.
“Last year, they said they had close to 400 kids at a meet,” Sherrill said. “Usually in a track meet, you’ll have a preliminary heat and then you’ll come back and run (again) and then run the finals. Well, you can’t really do that with that many kids, so you get one shot at it. You run against the clock.”
The runners will be staged in heats and wait their turn to compete, Sherrill explained.
He noted that a child might have the fastest time in his or her heat but still not place among the top times in the event, which will be professionally timed. The same companies that time college and high school meets will time these.
Sherrill said Haleyville will not a host a meet this year. “The main reason we won’t host one is our track at the high school is still in yards,” he said. “Everybody’s gone to meters instead of yards, so it would be kind of confusing for kids.” He said maybe Haleyville can host a meet in the future.
The April 27 event is the APRA District 1 meet where children will have the opportunity to qualify for the state track meet to be held May 18 in Wetumpka. Any child who’s time or distance meets or exceeds a qualifying time or distance will be able to advance to state, said Jordan Egress, assistant director of Haleyville Parks and Rec.
Children can participate in the program without attending every meet, so if families have a conflict on one or more of those dates, the children may still register for the program.
Children will be able to choose up to five track events in which to compete at each meet, one of which must be a relay. They may choose to compete in fewer than five events if they prefer, and they may pick different events for each meet.
Children aged 7-8 may choose from the following events: 50-Meter Dash, 100-Meter Dash, 200-Meter Dash, 400-Meter Dash, 800-Meter Dash, 4 x 100-Meter Relay, Standing Long Jump and Softball Throw.
Children aged 9-10 may choose from the above events plus the 1600-Meter Run, Running Long Jump, and Shot Put with a 2.2-pound weight.
Children aged 11-12 may choose from all of the above, expect the Shot Put with a 2.2-pound weight, plus the 4 x 400-Meter Relay and Shot Put with a 4.4-pound weight.
Haleyville Parks and Rec will submit a list of which students will be competing in which event to the APRA on Wednesdays before the Saturday meets, said Sherrill.
“That’s so their name will be on the board,” he said. “They’ll have this big board like you see on TV with (the children’s names and times).”


See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
Subscribe now!