Young athletes from the local area are headed to Flagstaff this weekend to compete in the 31st Annual Indoor Classic hosted by USA Track and Field at the NAU Skydome.
The competitors are members of the Rich River Athletics Club (RRAC), a Santa Cruz County organization that opened a winter track team to students in fourth, fifth and sixth grade for the first time this season. Twenty-four athletes took advantage of the opportunity and practiced twice a week for six weeks.
Having already competed in two meets this winter, the Feb. 19 event in Flagstaff will be a highlight for the 20-plus athletes who will make the trip, the club said in a news release.
“I’m very excited to finally take these young student-athletes up to Flag for this meet,” RRAC Coach Toni Ann Schadler said in the news release. “As a club, we always have a summer camp, elementary fun runs, and the middle school meets in both track and cross country. This winter track team seems like the last piece of the puzzle that we have been wanting to offer the youth in our community.”
The RRAC athletes have already proven themselves at meets in Phoenix, where the club earned several age-group ribbons.
“Last week we brought home six ribbons in the hurdles, the shot put and the 800,” Schadler said. “The kids were excited for that and were able to prove that even in Phoenix, with hundreds of competitors, our kids are able to compete.”
Zahida Jimenez is the team’s assistant coach.
In addition to working with its winter track tam, the Rich River Athletics Club is currently accepting applications for its $1,000 scholarship. The award goes to a Santa Cruz County graduating senior who has been an ambassador for running, health or fitness.