RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph youth Track and Field team enjoyed great success in the 2016 Spring season. The team, which includes kids from grades 3-8, was undefeated en route to winning a third straight Lakeland League Championship title.
"In our program we try to find a balance of competitiveness and fun,” said program coordinator Scott Wilkins. “We really stress sportsmanship and learning, while at the same time setting goals and working very hard in practice."
The township rec program competes in the Lakeland Track and Field league with many other Morris County towns. Established in 1971, the league provides kids with the opportunity to travel to other towns to participate in weekly meets at a very high level of competition.
When asked about the league, Wilkins commented, "We are very fortunate to be a part of this league. The Lakeland League is one of the best Track & Field and Cross Country leagues in the region. The level of competition is very impressive."
The Randolph program is designed to allow young kids to develop skills in various sprinting or long distance events. For many, it is the first time they are exposed to track and field.
Athletes can participate in various events including 100m, 4 x 100m relay, 200m, 400m, 800m, mile, shot put and long jump.
The program is coordinated by Wilkins and his wife Melinda, along with longtime Program Chairpersons Kevin and Maryellen Higgins. The Higgins, who own Runners Haven, a local running shoe and apparel business on route 10 in Randolph, have championed the program in this town for many years.
According to Scott and Melinda Wilkins, "The running community in Randolph is very strong, and that is due in large part to the commitment the Higgins family has made to the youth running teams."
Kevin Higgins is also one of the coaches of the Randolph High School girls Cross Country, and Track & Field teams.
The youth team is coached by parent volunteers Jen Houston, Roberta Groner, Anne Cafero, and Scott Wilkins for long distance. The sprinter teams are coached by Peter Rubinetti, Aimee Ruscher, Lisa Cannon, Jen Bona, Scott Swayze, Don Timmerman, Chris Mihalko, and Hugo Lopez.
The township also competes in the Lakeland Youth Cross Country League which starts in late August and holds weekly meets at Central Park of Morris County (formerly Greystone) through the fall months.
The track and field team just celebrated at their annual end of season banquet, where they recognized the athletes and honored the graduating 8th graders.
Wilkins concluded by stating, "It's nice to see the coaches, parents, and kids come together outside the track for us all to recognize their accomplishments, hard work, and maturity."