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Youth sports: Everyone come to the All Comers Track Meet

Luke Barber, 3, of Worthington, runs to the finish line for a win during Friday night's All Comers track meet in Worthington.1 / 2
Andrew Olsen shows his winning form in the high jump during the All Comers track meet.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- Every year, the YMCA's All Comers Track Meet entices children ages 3 and up for the opportunity to show what they can do in a variety for events at Trojan Field.

"It is a really good thing for the community to have," Scott Barber, father of 7-year-old Ian Barber, said. "It is an opportunity for the kids to learn different disciplines and have fun with each other while doing the different events."

Events at Friday's track meet included the softball toss, the standing long jump and the high jump along with a selection of track events.

"I've been doing this every year since I was 2 or 3 years old," said 11-year-old Payton Sauerbrei. "I like the challenge of it and trying to get better every time."

There are many reasons why each individual makes their way out to the All Comers Track Meet every year. For some, it is about the chance to push themselves in each event and for others it is just a way to have fun on a sunny day in July.

"This is my second year coming and I came back because I really enjoyed it last year," 7-year-old Kaleb Knothe said. "I also wanted to see if I could do better than I did last year."

For parents, like Kaleb''s step-dad Eric, the best part about coming to the event is watching their child compete and enjoying themselves.

"I watch him do this stuff at home, so it is nice to see him compete and see how good he can do," Eric said. "It is always good for kids to have a little bit of friendly competition."

Other families come to the event because it is an opportunity for the whole family to get outside and enjoy themselves while the weather is good.

"It is a family event for us that we have been coming to together for a while," Kari Sauerbrei said. "The kids really enjoy it and look forward to it every year. They really like being able to come out and try to beat their score from the year before."

And still other kids come to the track meet just because they enjoy the sensation of running and jumping.

"I like being in track and jumping in general," 14-year-old Andrew Olsen said. "I'm trying to get onto the track team in high school, so this is a good place to test myself and get in some practice. But overall, I come because I like jumping a lot; it is my favorite thing to do. It gives me a flying sensation that I really enjoy."

Seven-year-old Ian Barber enjoys the meet because it gives him the chance to run as much as he wants.

"I like to run," Ian said. "I like (the track meet) because I like to run and go fast. And it is fun."

Ian's parents enjoy watching Ian run at the meet and use the skills he has been learning from his time at the YMCA track meets.

"It is a good way for him to put to use the things he is learning and a way to just get in some practice time on the track in a non-threatening environment," Scott Barber said. "He knows he just has to do his best and have fun with his friends. I am sure we will bring him back next year."