Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - Story and photos by Joshua Ross
A new Hingham Youth Track & Field Program for middle school aged kids will be starting up this spring, thanks to the determination of Judy Walsh and Ken Warshaw (current HHS track & field parents), HHS Track & Field Head Coach Fred Jewett, and a generous donation from the Hingham Sports Partnership.
The program, which tried to get off the ground last spring before COVID hit, will begin this spring with hopes of attracting between 40-60 6th-8th graders. The Middle School Track & Field Team will join the existing South Shore Middle School Track & Field League, which includes teams from Marshfield, Whitman-Hanson, Silver Lake, Norwell, Duxbury and Plymouth to name a few.
The middle school athletes will have a chance to practice with the HHS track & field team throughout the spring. They will be coached by Fred Jewett, the varsity assistant coaches, and student athletes, including the team captains. They will have a unique opportunity to learn first hand about the benefits of high school sports and expose them to a sport they might not have thought about before high school. They will have their own meets on different days from the HS teams.
“We are an inclusive sport,” Head Coach Fred Jewett explains. “Over my 35 years of teaching, I saw firsthand how being part of a team can help in all aspects of a student’s high school experience - scholastically, socially, and emotionally. We want kids to choose track and field because they have been given an early opportunity to participate in the sport rather than picking it because they didn’t make another team.”
The track and field program at HHS, which includes cross-country in the fall, indoor tack & field in the winter, and track & field in the spring, is a non-cut sport. Every person who wants to be on the team is welcome. Because of the opportunity to be on one of three teams, the participation rate for HHS is very high for the sport.
Judy Walsh, one of the co-chairs of the middle school program, has two high schoolers on the track & field team and explains why this sport is important to her and her family.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a senior or a freshman, the first one to cross the finish line or the last, all your teammates are cheering you on the whole race giving the same amount of support and encouragement to everyone who crosses the finish line.”
“I wish a middle school track and field program existed when my son was in middle school,” says the other co-chairs Ken Warshaw. “By 7th grade, he was already getting bored lacrosse, but stuck with it because it was something to do. When he got to high school he made the switch to track & field and has never looked back.”
Identifying and funding these opportunities is nothing new for Hingham Sports Partnership. Grants from HSP have helped with start-up expenses for youth volleyball and field hockey and HHS rugby. The funding for this program will go to the start-up costs, and then the program will be self-sustaining from participation fees.
“The Hingham Middle School Track & Field grant supports a core mission of HSP, allowing more students to participate in athletic activities,” HSP President Bill Crean says. “ We are very excited and proud to share in this opportunity to bring track and field to the middle school.”
For anyone interested in learning more about the program, there will be an informational Zoom this Wednesday night at 7:00pm for both parents and students. Judy Walsh and Ken Warshaw from the Track Boosters and the current Captains and team members will be on hand to answer any questions. The link to join is https://zoom.us/j/99759383734?pwd=MDRWMjdkOS9qN0RFNGJrUm1QWHMwZz09 . If you can’t attend but would still like more information, please email [email protected] .