TRACK AND FIELD
"I think it provides a wonderful opportunity of exploration in the sport for young ones."
On the John Cummings Junior Track Meet
Kids win at Cummings meet
In an event to celebrate competitive running and the life of a man who devoted his time to the sport, the future of Hawaii track and field was on display yesterday at Punahou School for the John Cummings Junior Track Meet.
Cummings, who died in February of a heart attack, was the founder of the Koolauloa Track Club and one of the statesmen for the track and field community in Hawaii. His wife, Lei, was there as a coach and supporter.
"My husband and I devoted ourselves to this for seven years, and I will continue to do it because of the joy it brings to the youth," Cummings said. "I think it provides a wonderful opportunity of exploration in the sport for young ones."
While people of all ages from across Oahu participated in various relays and medleys, the heart of the competition centered on the kids. It was an event to showcase their skills and sportsmanship, with many relays featuring athletes from rival clubs running together as teammates for certain races.
"Our emphasis as coaches is teaching, not winning and losing," said Phil Nasca, coach of the Punahou-based Renegades Track Club. "This day is exciting and great for the kids because it takes a lot of courage to be out on that track."
Cummings and Nasca agree that one of track's greatest assets is teaching athletes from all sports how to run. According to Nasca, running is a skill that needs to be taught and speed is a common quality in most great athletes.
"Most of our runners use track to work on their top-end speed," Nasca said. "Increasing their speed is something that all athletes should do, from track to football, basketball and baseball."
However, not all the competitors were at that level. For many, like 7-year-old Bradley Anae from Kahuku Elementary and Koolauloa Track Club, participation in track was for different reasons.
"My parents first signed me up to take away some of my energy," Anae said after finishing his 4x100 relay. "Now I think it's really fun and exciting."
Fun and exciting was the spirit of the John Cummings Junior Track Meet. Lei Cummings, who was unaware that the event had been recently named in honor of her husband and his many contributions, was humble in her reaction.
"I feel very blessed to be just one part of this and to work with so many great volunteers who put on such a special event."