by: Rich Miller
What do you have when you put a beautiful day, Bosse Field and some excited young athletes together? The 9th annual Evans Middle School Ballpark Run.
Over 200 kids from city schools gathered on the grounds of pro baseball's third oldest park, competing in boys and girls races. The course takes them around the warning track, out the gates and around Garvin Park, before heading back inside for the finish. Leading the pack into the park on the girls side, Plaza Park 8th grader Kelsey Cobbs, who repeated as champ with a time of 7:49.42.
"I prepared more before the race, eating welll and stuff like that. During the race, I just tried to push myself as hard as I could," Kelsey said. "This season our coach has really pushed us. I think she's improved our agility and our endurance for all of our races. She's just been a great help to us this year."
Erica Hill of Oak Hill led her team to a first place finish in the team event. She took second in the girls' individual competition, which included 102 runners from the city's middle schools. Plaza Park was second.
134 boys took to the course this year and the first one through the chute was Patrick Veal, an 8th grader at Evans Middle School. Veal conquered the course iin 6:51:50. He's an all-around athlete who was competing for the first time--and credited a great start for his win.
"I felt like I wanted to stop but my Dad always told me 'push harder, push harder and you'll succeed'. That went right into my head and I just skated off to the finish line."