By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
TROY — Even with as much success as the Troy track and field programs have had of late — the girls have won eight Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division titles in a row, while the boys have won five of the last seven — Troy girls coach Kurt Snyder always has an eye toward the future.
Last week, Snyder, along with boys coach Deon Metz, helped run the Troy High School track and field camp for elementary school students while Troy was on spring break. Snyder started running the camp four years ago, and it has grown every year since. About 20 kids attended the first three-day camp, which always runs during Troy’s spring break, and the numbers have grown every year.
This year, roughly 50 kids spent three days learning all of the events track and field as to offer.
“With school on break, we are just really trying to get kids to see what track and field was like,” Snyder said. “Every kid gets a shirt, a baton and a photo — we only make enough to cover the cost of the camp. The big thing we want is for kids to see what track and field is like at a young age. A lot of other sports have summer camps, which is tough for us to do, because we are just finishing up our season.”
In addition to Snyder and Metz, the camp is run by Troy’s assistant coaches and members of both the boys and girls high school teams.
“The high school kids all have a lot of fun doing it,” Snyder said.
While the camp does include running, Snyder said it focuses more on the specialty events young athletes might not otherwise get exposed to if they didn’t attend the camp.
“A lot of the focus is on the specialty events,” he said. “Anyone can go out and run when there’s nothing in the way. We focus on things like the hurdles, high jump, long jump, pole vault, shot and disc. We want to give them the knowledge of all the different events that are out there. We can find an event for pretty much everyone — it doesn’t matter what height you are or whether your are male or female. That’s the nice thing about track.”
Snyder said he hopes the camps will encourage young athletes to consider participating in track and field when they get older — and the numbers on the Troy Junior High School team would indicate they have.
“We are starting to see how the camps are helping the program,” he said. “Our junior high programs are the biggest they’ve ever been. Our numbers have always been pretty good, but they are growing.”
Even if the young athletes don’t grow up to run for the Trojans in junior high and high school, Snyder said, at the very least they have the opportunity to get some exercise and have fun during spring break.
“We want the kids to be active and have some fun with their friends,” he said.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong