Growing youth track club back for spring season
Mar 05, 2019 02:40PM
● By Catherine Garrett
Former BYU All-American — and Draper resident — Nan Kennard stands with Draper’s McKay Wells who won nationals in the 11–12-year-old division. Her Race Cats program is now accepting spring registrations. (Photo courtesy Nan Kennard)
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
The Race Cats track program for kids aged 8 to 15 has simply kept on growing since it was formed by Draper’s Nanette Evans Kennard, a two-time All-American runner at BYU. After just a few years, the program boasted 40 teams and 1,100 athletes last fall and was the third largest team in the country at last year’s national championships.
“My vision for Race Cats is to facilitate opportunities for youth to discover running at a younger age than I did,” Kennard said. “I’ve designed the Race Cats program to be fun and positive so we can ignite a love of exercise in young children. I want them to experience the positive physical and mental benefits, confidence, joy and lifelong friendships that running provides.”
This past December, 64 Race Cat athletes competed in Reno, Nev. at the Junior Olympic National Championships with Draper’s McKay Wells winning the 11–12-year-old division along with two All-American finishers and a fourth-place 8U boys team.
Kennard said the experience of 13-year-old Grayson Milne during the 13–14-year-old boys race at nationals exemplifies what this program is all about. “Early on in his race, his shoe was yanked off by the mud on the course,” she said. “He didn’t even stop to think about it. He just kept going and ran more than half of the race with only one shoe on (which was later retrieved by Grayson and his teammates)! I was inspired by his courage and willingness to press onward despite uncomfortable circumstances.”
“These kids are learning grit, sportsmanship and teamwork at a young age, and I am so proud of them,” Kennard said. “I am so grateful for all the coaches and parents who help make this possible. We all had a blast this past season and grew as at team,” she said
Kennard directs the 11-week Race Cats program that will practice at Corner Canyon as sanctioned by USA Track and Field (USATF). The spring season will hold practices twice a week for young kids who will compete at meets through the season that will run from April 8 through June 22. The state meet will be held June 6–8 with those qualifying for regionals traveling to Montana to compete June 20–22.
Registration is $160 for the spring league with a maximum of 150 athletes. Additional fees are USATF membership and meet dues. More information is available at www.racecats.org.