TRACK & FIELD: Germantown Academy All-Comers Meet Series returns for 8th year
By Ed Morlock
WHITEMARSH >> The Germantown Academy All-Comers Track and Field Meets started off their eighth year Tuesday night at Carey Stadium.
The All-Comers Meets began in 2012. For four Tuesdays in the summer athletes head to Germantown Academy for friendly competition.
The family event draws athletes of all ages and abilities. There have been children under four years old competing in the 100 meter dash and senior citizens over 90 years old competing in the shot put.
For younger competitors, it gives them the chance to learn the rules and etiquette of the sport. For those older, out of high school and college, it gives them an opportunity to get back to what they love.
“We’ve had as many as 400 people here,” Tom Taft, the Executive Meet Director, said.
“We’ve had people qualify for the Olympic team off of our events because it is sanctioned and it is all FAT (fully automatic time) with this camera. This is just pretty crazy. There are no prizes, no awards, no one is placed anywhere. It’s just you get your time.”
Despite the lack of medals or ribbons, the event still draws plenty of highly skilled high school and college aged athletes, such as JP McCaskey rising senior Dejon Manning.
Manning, running for the Lancaster City Track Club, had a full slate of activity. The 17 year old competed in the long jump, 100 and 400 meter dash.
“My start could’ve been better in the 100,” Manning, who finished third in the 100 by .01 seconds and won the 400, said. “I like to close out races, so that’s what got me to third. Four hundred I wanted to do better — I was going for 49 (seconds) and I got 50.5. Long jump took a lot out of me. I did four jumps — all 22 (feet).”
It was Manning’s first time competing in the All-Comers Meets and he was surprised at first when he saw he was lining up against men of different ages.
“In the 100 I was nervous,” he said. “Those guys next to me — I thought they had me in the wrong heat, but once I started racing I felt like I should run my race and everything will be fine.”
The meets are set for Tuesdays to serve as either a chance to get back on the track after an event the prior weekend or as a prep for something the upcoming weekend. Manning and the Lancaster City Track Club just came from the New Balance nationals and are gearing up for the USATF Junior Nationals.
“This is to get times on people,” Manning, who took home plenty of medals during the high school season, said, “and coach wants to see where he can put us.”
Taft has plenty of help running the event. Three of those helpers are Associate Meet Directors Kyle Mecklenborg, Lawrence Johnson (two-time Olympian) and Christie Johnson.