Island Sports: Middle school track update
By Vicki Sedlack
Close to 200 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students participated in the Alameda Education Foundation’s (AEF) first middle school track meet last week. Students competed in the All-Comers meet in nine field and running events on April 12-13. All-Comers meets have unlimited entries and are not awarded.
AEF president Bill Sonneman said this event saw the largest number of students participating in the Foundation’s track and field program since it began in the spring of 2009.
“We had 88 entries in the 50 meter dash alone!” Sonneman said.
Students compete representing the Academy of Alameda Charter Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, Wood Middle School and, new this year, a combined team of Nea/ACLC Community Charter Schools.
“This year we have so much support from the parents, former coaches, and other volunteers, that it makes running a track meet of this size possible,” Sonneman said.
The Foundation also offers volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter.
“Our sports program has grown to reach almost 400 participants throughout the year,” Sonneman said.
For many students, AEF’s middle school track program is the first opportunity students have to try out track, as there are not readily available track recreation programs as there are with other sports. The Foundation’s program makes a “meaningful contribution” to the local high school programs, Encinal cross country and distance coach Don Porteous said. Porteous also serves as head timer at the meets, by “encouraging middle school students to get interested in running.”
Former Alameda High School head coach Brian Lodge complimented the event as being “one of the best run middle school meets I’ve ever attended.”
Students will compete two more times this spring, in a second All-Comers meet on May 3-4 and championships scheduled for May 17-18. The field events are held at Encinal High School on Tuesdays, since the college track has no jumping or throwing facilities; the Foundation rents the College of Alameda track for the running events on Wednesdays, since no Alameda schools have a usable track for meets (Alameda and Encinal High Schools cannot hold home meets).
Individual first, second and third place division awards will be given at the championships.
AEF’s Middle School Sports program receives no district funding. The program is supported through participation fees, fundraising efforts and community donations. More information may be found at alamedaeducation.org.