Bang! The starting pistol sounded, and the runners were off. The pyc 2019 track meet had begun.
The soccer field had been outlined in yellow and white lines, marking the lanes and starting points for various races. Outside the lines, near the edge of the field, sat parents, friends, siblings, and cousins of the competing campers, as well as supportive local members.
The campers were divided into groups for the various activities. There were six groups in all: three age groups for the girls and three for the boys. Each group was headed by a counselor or sports instructor who led them from race to race.
The mile run had been held earlier in the day. Instead of being divided by age, the mile race was divided into just two groups for the boys and girls. The winners of the mile were blue-clad cousins Ellie (6G) and Jude (2B). Ellie ran the mile in 7 minutes and 18 seconds while Jude ran it in an astounding 5 minutes and 33 seconds.
The first race of the evening was the 15 and 16-year-old boys’ 100-meter dash. Mitchell (4B) won the first heat of the race while Yannis (6B) won the second and Jacob (6B) won the third. When the results were added up, it was announced that Mitchell had won overall with a time of 12.92 seconds.
The 17 and 18-year-old girls’ 400-meter sprint was the first girls’ race I watched. Leah (1G) started with an early lead and kept it throughout her run, winning with a time of 1 minute and 22 seconds. The next race was the 13 and 14-year-old girls’ 200-meter dash. With the support of her big brother, Scott, running (well, jogging) beside her, Caitlin (1G) made it to the finish line first, crossing with a time of 33.24 seconds.
In the 17 and 18-year-old boys’ category, Sam (5B), with a time of 13.01 seconds, won the 100-meter dash. Michael (1B) took home the medal for discus with a mighty throw of 73 feet and 6 inches.
The 15 and 16-year-old boys’ shot-put competition was one of the most exciting field events of the meet. While waiting for his turn with the heavy orb, Mitchell (4B) practiced his Olympian-style routine. When his turn came, he threw the shot-put a distance of 33 feet and four inches, but Justus (5B) soon out-threw him with a distance of 33 feet and 11 inches. While they waited for their second and final try, Mitchell showed Justus his fancy footwork technique for throwing the metal object. “Throw it 40 feet,” Mitchell’s dormmate, Peter, advised as Mitchell walked up for his next turn. He did just that, throwing the shot-put a distance of 40 feet exactly, winning the competition and breaking the previous pyc record for his age group as well as that of the 17 and 18-year-old category (37 feet and one inch), which had been standing since 2012.
The next competition I watched was the 13 and 14-year-old boys’ javelin throw. Luke (5B) won by launching the spear-like object a distance of 71 feet and 0.5 inches.
In the 13 and 14-year-old girls’ category, both Ava (1G) and Sofia (6G) had tied with the farthest distance on their first try at the long jump with 10 feet and 10 inches. On their second try, Sofia landed slightly shorter than her last jump with a distance of 10 feet and eight inches. In the end, Ava won by just half of an inch with her second jump measuring 10 feet and 10.5 inches.
The 15 and 16-year-old girls’ 400-meter sprint was one of the most exciting girls’ races of the evening. In the first heat of the race, it looked like Tori (2G) was sure to win. She started with an early lead and kept her pace throughout, but within the last 75 meters of the race, Nicole (1G) sneaked in beside her and crossed the finish line just a fraction of a second before Tori. Ella (2G) came in far ahead of the others in the second heat. Overall, Ella won the race with a time of 1 minute and 14 seconds.
The four fastest members of every dorm competed in the relay—the last race of the day. Per tradition, a worker team also competed in the event. The women’s worker team this year comprised of myself, Cami Eagle, Julia Goddard and Vienna Flurry. We had not planned on running in the event until the last moment, but being directly involved in this race with the campers was the highlight of my day. Though the worker team crossed the finish line first, the winning camper team was close behind. 1G (comprised of Leah, Caitlin, Nicole and Ava) won the pyc 2019 women’s relay with a time of one minute and 7.09 seconds. For the men’s relay, 4B (Samuel, Ashton, Peter and Mitchell) came in first (behind the men’s worker team) with a time of 53.12 seconds.
After the final camper crossed the finish line, the campers reconvened with their dorms for a picnic-like dinner on the soccer field. Brother and sister dorms sat together in large circles eating pizza and watermelon. The aunts and uncles of each dorm brought their sweaty, tired nieces and nephews smoothies, ice cream, popsicles, or other treats. One dorm received authentic tacos as part of their celebration treat.
After a day full of running, jumping, and throwing, the campers ambled back to their dorms, collapsed into their sleeping bags, and dropped off into some much-needed sleep.