Locals heading to Hershey national finals

15 years ago

    On Thursday, Cassidy Pelletier of Ashland and Ryan King of Mars Hill will travel to Hershey, Pa.
    While there, they will enjoy four days of fun, experience great programs, meet some outstanding track and field athletes and participate with hundreds of other youngsters from across the continent in the North American Finals of the Hershey Youth Track and Field Games. 



    Pelletier will compete in the girls’ ages 9-10 softball throw, whie King will compete in the boys’ ages 11-12 softball throw.
    At the state meet in Bangor July 7, Pelletier won her  division’s softball throw with a distance of 100 feet, 5 inches. King was first in the softball throw for his age group with a distance of 156 feet, 7 inches.
    At the regional meet in Caribou June 23, Pelletier won the softball throw with a distance of 86 feet, 1 inch. King took second in the softball throw at 128 feet, 8 inches.
    Over the last few months, literally thousands of boys and girls from across North America have participated in the Hershey Youth Track and Field Program. On Thursday, Pelletie and, King, along with Emily Mooers of Houlton, Seraphina Provenzano of Holden and James Peterson of Hampden, will travel to Hershey, Pa. to represent Maine and participate in the North American Finals, the largest youth program if its kind in the United States and Canada.
    For 32 years, the Hershey Track and Field Program has worked to provide quality recreation and school programs where children have fun and are introduced to physical fitness through basic track and field events such as running, jumping and throwing.  
    While competition is important, the root of the Hershey program, according to Caribou Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Kathy Mazzuchelli, who has been involved with the program for 30 years, is encouraging kids to be the best they can be.
    The Hershey Food Corporation adopted the program in 1977 and has expanded the program to every state as well as every Canadian province and territory. The program begins at local recreation departments or in school physical education classes. Eventually participants move through local meets, district meets and eventually state and/or provincial meets in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada.









    Mazzuchelli explained that the states and Canadian provinces and territories are divided up into eight regions.    
    Maine is in Region Six, which is comprised of all six New England states and all the Atlantic provinces.
    Once every state and province has had their state and provincial meets, scores are compared and regional teams formed.
    To ensure fair representation of participants, Hershey requires that a minimum of five finalists are selected from each state or province to participate in the North American Finals, to be held at the Henry Hershey Field in Hershey, Pa.
    Mazzuchelli indicated that the most important part of the meet is allowing the youngsters to experience the competition and to know that everyone comes from some where, communities large and small all across North America, but it is what they aspire to achieve that allows them succeed.