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Athletes in Parks and Recreation Department track team place in state meet


  • By Jeffrey Cullen-Dean
  • |
  • May. 20, 2022 - 5:32 PM

Athletes in Parks and Recreation Department track team place in state meet

Brent Snodgrass

Athletes in the track and field team partnered with the Coweta County Parks and Recreation Department placed at the recent state level competition.

The team, Elite Speed Force, is only in its first year of operation, and of the team's 20 members, 15 made it to the state competition of the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association. The competition was held in Augusta on April 29 and 30.

Members of the team range from ages 6 to 14.

The following members of ESF placed in the top eight at the GRPA state track and field competition: Ave-Mone' Gill placed fourth in the girls 7-8 50-meter dash and seventh in the girls 7-8 long jump; Chloe Sanders placed sixth in the girls 11-12 standing long jump; Amari Harris placed eighth in the boys 11-12 200-meter dash and sixth in the boys 11-12 long jump; Kellan Boswell placed second in the boys 13-14 3200-meter run and fifth in the boys 13-14 javelin throw; Denarrio Byrd Jr. placed fourth in the boys 7-8 long jump; Zaden Mellow placed sixth in the boys 9-10 long jump; Patrick Mahone Jr. placed fifth in the boys 11-12 long jump; Dillon Rivers placed eighth in the boys 11-12 standing long jump; and Christian Herring placed sixth in the boys 11-12 discuss throw, fourth in the boys 11-12 shot put and first in the boys 11-12 softball throw.

The team's head coach, Kevin Copeland, ran a similar program in Carroll County, and wanted to bring track and field to young Coweta athletes.

"I just thought it'd be a great opportunity for the kids in the county to experience track and field," he said.

The team practiced at East Coweta Middle School three days a week.

CCPR Director Jim Gay said the program was unique for the county, as the programs usually offered by the rec department are typically football or baseball.

"It's exciting to see these programs. They're unique and very effective," he said.

Because of the CCPR's small staff, Gay said the department often relies on community partnerships, like with Copeland running the track and field team, to get some programs off the ground.

"We're trying to offer more opportunities for kids that maybe don't want to play baseball and stuff like that in the springtime," said Brent Snodgrass, operations manager at CCPR.

After the success of the spring track and field program, Snodgrass said CCPR is organizing its first track and field summer camp, which is already full.

Other camps organized by CCPR include metal detecting and geocaching, said Gay.

"We try to get kids interested in some kind of sport or hobby," he said. "We're just trying to build an interest in recreation."

Gay said the success of CCPR's recent programs comes from the passion of the staff involved.

"You can see it," he said. "Their passion for it goes beyond a job or a hobby and it shows through the success of those programs."

Copeland said he can see the track and field growing in the next few years.

He added that track and field teams in neighboring counties have more than 100 members.

Photos courtesy Brent Snodgrass

20220521-track-field-001.jpg?mtime=20220520173011#asset:75619

Christian Herring, left, and Kellan Boswell place in the top eight in a variety of competitions at the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association's state track and field meet.20220521-track-field-02.jpg?mtime=20220520173012#asset:75620Chloe Sanders, middle, places sixth in the girls 11-12 standing long jump.20220521-track-field-03.jpg?mtime=20220520173013#asset:75621Patience Mahone prepares to race at the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association state track and field meet.