NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Rotary Club of Plainfield-North Plainfield will hold its 88th Annual Track and Field Meet at Hub Stine Athletic Complex in Plainfield on Wednesday, June 1 beginning at 1 p.m.; the rain date is Wednesday, June 8.
Each year, the Rotary invites middle school students ages 12, 13, and 14 from public and charter schools throughout North Plainfield, Plainfield, South Plainfield, Watchung and Warren to participate in the meet. This year, students from North Plainfield Middle School, Plainfield's Maxson Middle School and Hubbard Middle School, Valley View School in Watchung, South Plainfield Middle School, and four other area schools have been invited to participate in tfriendly but determined competition.
The Plainfield-North Plainfield Rotary Club held its first track and field meet in 1924 and, over the past 88 years, has been held as a service to area youth every year, except during World War II. "This invitational meet is the longest-running meet of its kind in the entire state," said Michael Townley, director of the meet.
Participants will have the opportunity to compete in a variety of events, including long jump, high jump, shot put, 55-meter dash (12-year-olds), 100-meter dash (13- and 14-year-olds), a 4x100 delay and a 800-meter run. Custom-made medals will be awarded to first, second and third place finishers in all events except the relays where ribbons will be presented to all second and third place finishers. According to Townley, if the past is any indication, medals or ribbons will be earned by athletes from every school registered.
The meet is funded solely by the Rotary and is the Plainfield-North Plainfield club’s most important annual community service project.
“Our club looks forward each year to this special service project,” said Townley. “Rotary International’s motto is 'Service Above Self,’” said Townley. “We truly enjoy providing this service to these fine young athletes and presenting them an opportunity to win medals or ribbons for their athleticism.”
Rotary Club members and their friends will serve as the officials at the meet with assistance from members of North Plainfield High School’s Interact Club, the youth-based service club sponsored by Rotary International. "Interact is a great club of enthusiastic students who are interested in doing good deeds for others," said Ravenell Williams IV, Rotary president and the executive director of the Plainfield YMCA. "They help us with a number of our service projects and activities throughout the year, and host quite a few activities of their own to benefit North Plainfield residents. We are proud of them and of all that they accomplish throughout the year."
Eighty-eight years of track and field meets has drawn many thousands of participants, including Olympic decathlon champion and former Plainfield resident Milt Campbell. “We recognize that participating in our Track and Field Meet was but one step in Milt’s long and successful drive to achieve his decathlon championship,” said Townley. “In fact, our club was proud to be one of the many community groups that financially supported his Olympic trip.”
According to Townley, each year club members learn something new about the athletes that participated in the meet. “One of the seniors we interviewed at Plainfield High School for our scholarship awards last year commented that not only did she win a medal at our meet, it was also her first formal track event,” he said. “It influenced her to go on to star on her school’s track team, and led to her decision to run track in college.”
The Track and Field Meet is open to the public. The Hub Stine Athletic Complex is located on Randolph Road in Plainfield. Anyone wishing to volunteer assistance to the Rotary Club should contact them at RotaryPNP@verizon.net/908-822-1441.\
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