The Odessa Record -

Go! Odessa Recreation organizes meet


--Photo courtesy of Joshua Valverde.

All that is visible of Hayden Schuh after completing the high jump are her feet as Dakota Steward (left) and Jared Valverde (right) await their turn.

As I was getting ready for work Friday, June 30, I received a message from Kaylene James that said, "Today, for the last day of track and field camp, they are having a mini track meet. Thought if the paper needed to fill some space, it would be good. It goes from 9-11 a.m." She then told me it was for incoming grades 1-6. The week-long track and field camp is just one of several activities being hosted by Go! Odessa Recreation, a non-profit founded and run by James to bring low-cost recreational activities to the community.

So, finding the thought of six- and seven-year-olds attempting the high jump entertaining, I armed myself with my notepad, pen and tiny digital camera and headed out the door. When I arrived at the track, coaches Lanae Carper and Travis Schuh, along with Caitlyn Schuh had a fairly good-sized group of kids in a circle going through stretches. Absent was Sam Schafer who had helped all week.

Enlisting the help of Joshua Valverde to act as photographer, I started taking notes and attempting to identify which child was who. Thankfully, identifying the kids was relatively painless, simply due to the fact I had a lot of parental help.

With a total of 14 children on hand, the coaches split them into two teams to participate in up to a possible total of seven events: the 100 meters, 400 meters, 50-meter hurdles, shot put, turbo javelin, long jump and high jump.

For Team 1, the top three in the 100-meter run were Sophia J. (step-daughter of Michael Jeske) with a time of 19.8, Claire Squire with 20.87 and Caleb Frick with a flat 22. The top three sprinters in Team 2 were Jared Valverde with a time of 15.86, Blake Zigan with 17.36, followed closely by Hayden Schuh with 17.5.

In the 50-meter hurdles, the top three in Team 1 were Sophia J. with a time of 11.23, Katie Mae Shelton in the second spot with 11.75 and Colt Lewis and Caleb Frick tied for third place at 11.97. Team 2's top three were Sophia Squire with a time of 10.4, Valverde and Max Peterson sharing spot two with a time of 11.4 and Schuh third with 11.7.

The shot put score is the best of three throws. In Team 1, Frick held the top slot with 14'3", second was C. Lewis with 12'6" and third Sophia J. with 11'2.5". Team 2's top throws were B. Zigan with 20'8" followed by brother Carter Zigan with 19'8" and Peterson with 18'.

The next event was the turbo javelin (to me it looks like a long, green foam covered thing made by Nerf that was shaped like a missile). It also looked liked fun. Unfortunately, I do not have scores for Team 1. In Team 2, the top three were Schuh with 74'10.5", Valverde with 73'11" and Dakota Steward with 58'11".

In the high jump, Team 1 was very entertaining to watch. They all seemed to grin ear to ear attempting to jump over surgical tubing onto a mattress that was half their height. I do not have scores for group two.

In the long jump Team 1's top scores were Frick with a jump of 6'11", Shelton with 6'5.5" and C. Squire with 6' 2.5". Group two are Valverde with a jump of 10'5.5", Schuh with 10'5" and Chad Strebeck with 9'10".

Everyone looked as though they were having a lot of fun. I know I did. But one can never have a bad time when they are able to watch the sheer joy of kids at play while catching up with friends you don't see often.

To see the numerous activities Go! Odessa Recreation is planning or make a donation please visit their Facebook page at or email Kayleen James at


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