It did not take much persuasion to get Tim Bassing, Manila GT Coordinator, to accept the challenge of starting track and field and cross country in the Manila junior and senior high school. Manila School has not participated in track since the mid 1990's.
Bassing believes in physical fitness and competition. He enjoys running.
He started training in the late 1980's and ran in the New York Marathon in 1990. Since then he has competed in over 20 marathons, several half marathons and many 5-K's.
With only three weeks to prepare the Manila group went to District competition in Earle.
"I was surprised at how well they did with such a short time to practice.
Scout Smith, Ashton Hale, Anthony Benham, Nick Vancely all ran the 1600m and the 3200 runs; Scott Eubanks ran the 1600m, the 800m, competing in the long jump and the high jump; Charlie Smith did the shot put.
Charlie placed fourth in the shot put and Scout finished fourth in both the 1600 and 3200 and Ashton finished fifth in the 3200.
Scott finished fourth place in the 1600m.
Kailen Shelton, an eighth grader, attended the meet getting ready for next year.
A meeting was recently held and 20 high school students signed up for the Cross Country team for the 2011 fall season. Another meeting will be held for the junior high team and Bassing expects to have an interest there, also.
Track and field will begin for junior and senior high in January 2012.
"We will work with athletes participating in other sports, also," Bassing said.
Bassing said he expects a good turnout.
"Our kids have not had to be competitive," Bassing said. "Anytime they can compete it will help them."
The students will work after school and some mornings. The program will be open to students in 7-12 grades.
"I will work with them on any event they are interested in," Bassing said.
Events include 100m Dash; 200m Dash; 400 m Dash; 800m Run; 1600 m run; 110m hurdles; 300m hurdles; 4x100m relay; 4x400m relay; 4x800m relay; high jump; pole vault; long jump; triple jump; shot put; discus throw; and 3200 yard run.
Bassing again said he is excited about the opportunity for the students.
"There could be scholarships available to help them with college and the running can be something they can do for the rest of their lives," Bassing said. "Track is good for discipline, circulation, and will make students more alert. I am sure the kids are going to like it."
Bassing said he is happy to be working with the young athletes.
School Board member Johnny McCain attended the district meet and said the kids and chaperons had a great, fun day.
"We are always looking at activities to interest our students and opportunities for them," McCain said.