Jr. Pilots Youth Track Team Takes Off


Over the Fulton County Schools’ spring break week Jan 7-11 the coaches and athletes of the Pilots Track Program hosted the 3rd Annual Junior Pilots Track & Field Camp for students in grades 3-6.  Participants in this year’s camp were 5th Grader – Samantha Ward, along with 3rd Graders – Leslie Beth Jackson, Dylan Williams, Davis Major, and Connor Jackson.  Also participating was Jocelyn Spadafino, daughter of Coach Vito and a third grader at Carr Elementary.  The Jr. Pilots spent their spring break learning the basics of form sprinting and distance running such as technique, using starting blocks, and how to pace one’s self for various distances.  Campers also learned the fundamentals of the hurdles, relays, long jump, triple jump, high jump, shot put, and the discus.  The participants concluded their Jr. Pilots experience by joining the Middle School Pilot tracksters at the “Big Kahuna Invitational” track meet in Dyersburg, Tennessee on Saturday Jan 19th.  The youth athletes were able to compete in their own age group events as well as against the middle schoolers.

“I think the kids learned a lot and had a fun week,” commented Coach Spadafino. “We hope campers learn about general athletic skills, fitness, and personal goal setting and not just winning so they will grow up to be well rounded student athletes!”  The head coach of the Pilots even joined in and ran a leg in an exhibition relay with the youth at the meet.  “I felt like I was running fast, but Dale Jackson said I might have been the weak leg in that race…he’s probably right.”  The results indicate that this may be so since three Elementary School Records were broken at the culminating meet and some of the Jr. Pilots even managed to contribute to the middle school teams’ 3rd Place finish by placing in the upper level events!  “Our goal is to expose students to track early so they have some general knowledge of the sport when they are eligible to join the middle school and varsity teams in 7th Grade.  It’s not a main stream sport like football, basketball, and baseball so it’s tough to draw interest.”  Maybe the sport of Track & Field will come to the forefront and our youth will make a personal connection when the Olympics in Beijing, China are on TV this summer.



High Jump – Casey Dowty 1st (4-6), Sarah Beth Bennett 5th (3-11)

Shot Put – Gabrielle Readenour 4th (25-8)

Long Jump – Porsche Wilson 4th (11-9), Raneshia Warren 5th (11-3.5), Leslie Beth Jackson (7-2) *new fces record

Triple Jump – Casey Dowty 1st (31-6) *new ms record, Samantha Ward 2nd (20-7), Jocelyn Spadafino 3rd (15-2)

100m Hurdles – Gabrielle Readenour 5th (22.21)

Elem. 100m Dash – Samantha Ward 1st (15.16) *new fces record, Leslie Beth Jackson 2nd (18.75), Jocelyn Spadafino 3rd (19.24)

8th Grd. 100m Dash – Raneshia Warren 2nd (14.13)

200m Dash – Shelby Qualls 4th (31.72), Raneshia Warren 5th (32.04)

400m Dash – Sarah Beth Bennett 1st (1:11)

800m Run – Casey Dowty 1st (2:43) *new ms record

4x100m Relay – 2nd Sarah Beth Bennett, Shelby Qualls, Raneshia Warren, Casey Dowty (58.76)

TEAM SCORE – 3rd Place, 36.5 points



High Jump – Dylan Johnson 1st (5-8)

Shot Put – Davis Major 5th (14-7) *new fces record

Long Jump – Connor Jackson 6th (9-7), Dylan Williams (5-11)

100m Hurdles – Mike McClerkin 5th (23.66)

Elem. 100m Dash – Connor Jackson 1st (16.81), Davis Major 2nd (16.90), Dylan Williams 3rd (18.19)

7th Grd. 100m Dash – Kevin Bodon 1st (13.7), Ladarrian Polk 3rd (14.63)

8th Grd. 100m Dash – Dylan Johnson (12.32)

800m Run – Ladarrian Polk 4th (2:52) *new ms record

200m Dash – LaDevin Fair (25.64)

400m Dash – Kevin Bodon 2nd (1:06)

4x100m Relay – 2nd Dylan Johnson, Kevin Bodon, Ladarrian Polk, LaDevin Fair (53.74)

4x200m Relay – 2nd Kevin Bodon, Ladarrian Polk, Mike McClerkin, Dylan Johnson (1:58)

TEAM SCORE – 3rd Place, 43 points

Steve King

Steve lives in Fulton with his wife and one son. In 2010, he graduated from Eastern New Mexico University . Now, he writes software and gadget reviews and sport news for the team. During his free time, Steve coaches baseball to junior high school boys.

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