Dorchester Vikings Youth’s first local meet

CAMBRIDGE — The next generation of track and field athletes got their baptism of fire Friday, when the Dorchester Vikings Youth Track Team’s athletes participated in the Cambridge Classic Invitational. The meet is hosted annually by C-SD’s team as a fundraiser, and this year attracted 13 other high school teams from around the state.

And one middle school-aged team.

The club – it’s age-based, not affiliated with a school – practiced over the winter, and traveled a few times to Prince George’s County to compete. But this was their first time at Vikings Stadium, in front of a home crowd.

It’s also the first season Dorchester has had a program for children this age. On the Eastern Shore, Queen Anne’s and Worcester counties have programs, putting their regional high school opponents at a disadvantage – after all, that could be three years of experience before the athletes are even freshmen.

But it looks like those days are over, as Head Coach Derek Coleman and his assistants finish their winter season and prepare for spring training under the auspices of the counties Recreation and Parks Department. While membership on the winter club was by invitation, the county team will be open to all comers.

The young athletes competed against each other in sprints, long jump and shot put on Friday. State rules prohibit middle schoolers’ competing against high schoolers, so it was done on an exhibition basis.

As the day neared its end, it was also a time to remember the winter’s efforts, which were pretty challenging all around.

“There was a really cool moment, afterwards, when I was giving this group a corny speech,” Coach Coleman wrote about the shot put boys. He said, “Hey guys, we are very proud of you today. But we’re proud every time we practice, at how you all show up to work, knowing that you are going to be going outside whether it’s 50 degrees, 40 degrees, or 30. How many kids do you know would show up every week, if they knew they were going outside in January and February?”

He continued, “Jairyn Lewis gets a funny look on his face, turns and starts pointing and counting all his shot put teammates. He gets to 6, then counts himself as 7…and we all understood what he was saying. Us.”

The shot putters’ efforts were matched by the runners, who were also hard at work at 8 a.m. on Saturday mornings at the Bay Country Racquet Club, doing sprints, conditioning and stretching work. “Great kids,” Assistant Coach Jordan Coleman said. “Always willing to work.”

High School Results

Among the women’s teams, North Caroline won, with 109.5 points. Lady Vikings were sixth with 68, and North Dorchester Lady Eagles were 12th with 17.5.

Among the men’s teams, North Caroline was first, with 107.5 points. C-SD was 12th with 24 points, and ND was 13th with 15.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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