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Youthful track and field athletes lauded in Wayne

Seated are Rachel Korty, left, 9; Zach Cannon, 14; Connor Schmitt, 9; Jennifer Korty, 14; Paige Barillo, 12; and Jarod Blachnovich, 11. Standing are commissioners Jonathan Fritz, left, Brian Smith, Wayne County Parks and Recreation Director Ray Ofner and Commmissioner Wendell Kay. Competitor Britney Peachy was unable to attend.
Contributed photo

By Fritz Mayer
August 7, 2013

Top Wayne County finishers at the recent finals of the annual Hershey Track and Field competition were recognized by the county commissioners on August 1. Wayne County Parks and Recreation Director Ray Ofner has been coordinating the local program for more than 35 years. Ofner said local first-place competitors were invited to regional competitions in Easton, and first- and second-place finishers there went on to compete at the finals at Penn State in State College.

Competing among nine- and 10-year-old girls, Rachel Korty finished fourth in the 400-meter dash and fifth in the 200-meter dash. Zach Cannon finished third in 1600-meter run for 13- to 14-year-old boys. Connor Schmitt, competing among nine- to 10-year-old boys, finished seventh in the 100-meter dash and third in the standing long jump. Jennifer Korty finished seventh in the 13- to 14-year-old girls 800-meter run. Jarod Bachnovich was fourth in the 800-meter run for 11- to 12-year-old boys. Britney Peachy, who was unable to attend the presentation, was third in the long jump for 13- to 14-year-old girls.

The commissioners encouraged the young athletes to continue in competition. “Stay the course, stay involved and apply yourselves. Good things happen,” said commissioners’ chair Brian Smith.

Commissioner Wendell Kay said the competitors needed to thank all those who helped them, including parents and grandparents who encouraged them and made sure they got to the competitions.

Commissioner Jonathan Fritz recalled competing in the games in 1990s, as a natural runner, “since I was the youngest of four, it was often a matter of escaping bodily harm.” Fritz said the effort they put in now will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

The Hershey Track & Field Program introduces children between the ages of nine and 14 to physical fitness through basic track and field events.

Begun in 1975 as a playground track and field meet, the chocolate maker’s youth program has become the largest youth sports program of its kind in North America. Over 400,000 children participate in the program yearly, representing over 3,000 communities across the United States and Canada.

Also honored on August 1 were the staff of the Wayne County Probation Department, as the commissioners proclaimed the week of July 28 to August 3 as Probation and Parole Supervision Week.

In other business, the commissioners awarded a $48,780 contract to Cocciardi & Associates for the 10-year update of the county’s hazard mitigation plan.