Kayla Johnson is heading to the chocolate capital of the United States — Hershey, Penn.
The 9-year-old Nautilus Elementary School student earned the all-expense paid trip to the 2013 Hershey’s Track and Field National Championships earlier this month after claiming Washington state title. The North American Final Meet will take place Aug. 3.
Johnson will be competing in the softball throw in the 9- and 10-year-old division in Hershey.
Johnson will be among a small contingent of Washington athletes who will be heading to Pennsylvania for the four-day trip. The 9 to 14 year olds qualified with performances at the Hershey State Track Meet, which was held at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma on June 29.
To qualify for the national meet, winners at the Washington Hershey State Track and Field Meet had to have the top time or distance in the entire region, not just the state. Washington’s region also includes Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Alaska, British Columbia and Alberta.
Johnson was dominant at the state meet in Tacoma. She won the softball throw with a distance of over 106 feet.
Johnson will will be treated to several amenities while in Hershey, including a tour of the chocolate factory, sleeping in college dormitory rooms and other games and activities during the four-day trip. She will also will take a planned excursion to HersheyPark, a theme park featuring 12 roller coasters and over 65 other rides, including a water park.
Now entering its 35th year, Hershey’s Track & Field Games is the largest youth sports program of its kind in North America. It is designed to encourage physical fitness and sportsmanship for youth of all skill levels. More than 10 million youth athletes have participated in the Hershey’s Track & Field Games over the program’s previous 34 years – all at no cost of entry.