Sports

Athletes head to Hershey

By COLE COSGROVE

Sports editor

Five Federal Way athletes are competing in today’s Hershey’s Track and Field North American Final Meet in Hershey, Pa. The meet features 480 of the best young track and field athletes in North America.

A relay team of 9- and 10-year-old girls advanced to the North American finals. Relay team members include Chantel Dixon, 9, Brittanie Turnure, 10, Ashley Ware, 10, and Ta’Rea Cunnigan, 9.

Dade Glaser, 12, qualified for the North American finals in the softball throw. Glaser, who also plays baseball and football, threw the regulation-size softball 189 feet.

“I’m excited for the meet,” Glaser said. “I’m just wondering how far I’m going to throw it.”

Glaser, who will attend the Federal Way Public Academy this fall, got involved with the Hershey’s track program through his elementary school. It’s his first year competing in the event.

“I just try hard and throw my best,” Glaser said. “I kind of work out, so that’s why I might do better than some of the other people.”

It’s also the first time to the North American meet for three of the four members of the relay team.

“It’s really exciting because it’s my first year going to nationals,” Turnure said. “We just want to do our best and have fun.”

Chantel Dixon went last year and finished sixth in the 50-meter dash. She’s looking forward to trying to do better this year with her teammates.

“I’m excited to go with my team,” Dixon said. “We practice hard.”

Although each relay team member finished in the top five in all their individual events at the state meet, the relay team was the only event that qualified for the North American Finals.

Athletes receive all-expense paid trips to Pennsylvania, which includes a tour of the Hershey’s chocolate factory and a day of free rides, food and fun at the Hershey’s amusement park.

“I love chocolate,” Cunnigan said. “It’s an energy for me.”

A total of 16 athletes from Washington are attending the North American finals.

“Hopefully we can represent Federal Way well,” said Bruce Dixon, the team’s coach and father of Chantel. “As a team, their work ethic is pretty good. These girls are very athletic and can do well going back there.”

Dads Ted Turnure and Brandon Cunnigan have also helped the team at practices.

Chaperoning the team is Kelly Blucher and Tiffany Russell. “Kelly came on board and has helped out tremendously,” Bruce Dixon said. “At this level, you kind of have to take it seriously.”

Russell and Blucher are returning to Hershey 15 years after competing in a relay team when they were 9 and 10. Their relay team finished sixth.

“Tiffany and I are both looking back and remembering when we went,” Blucher said. “We want to make this trip the pinnacle for them.”

In the past, relay teams that qualified from the state have included top runners from all over the South Sound region. This team is unique in that it is made up of all Federal Way athletes.

Ware and Turnure attend Panther Lake Elementary, Cunnigan goes to Silver Lake and Dixon attends Woodmont.

The team made it a goal to do its best and hopefully win the meet.

Sports editor Cole Cosgrove can be reached at 925-5565 and ccosgrove@fedwaymirror.com

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