Starting Line is on the fast track

By on September 5, 2018

Mikaela Archuleta started a business called Starting Line, a track and field clinic for kids in first through sixth grade, as part of the KidBiz Expo’s Kingdomprenuer Academy at LEFC. Archuleta is starting fifth grade at Kissel Hill Elementary. She handed out fliers to her friends and sent out an email. She made a Facebook page and a survey.

“It turns out that a lot of these people wanted to do it,” said Archuleta, “If I am inside too long, I would just go outside and run around my backyard. I would rather be at track and field in the summer than just a race. Track and field has running, jumping, sprinting.”

“The first day of Starting Line I was nervous talking in front of all these kids,” says young Mikaela who gave pep talks to over 35 participants before and after training. A week-long training session was held at Warwick Middle School on the track, ending in a mock track meet on Aug. 16.

Waiting for their chance to shine are (left to right) Abigail Christmas, Sophia Montpetit, Ella Ober, Xavier Pickel, Mia Garrison, Sadie McClain, Noah Seddon, Drew Martin, Tyler Widders, and Faye Ehrhart.

“It was good to get that initial feedback to see if people would even want to do it,” said Heather Archuleta, Mikaela’s mother. “When kids come out for middle school track and field, they get over 100 kids since it’s just something they want to try.”

“It was fun to watch the jumping. It takes so much coordination,” said Archuleta’s mother. Participants learned the triple jump and the long jump.

“Long jump is just terrifying for me,” said young Archuleta who yelled a five minute warning to participants. “Friends from my school run super-fast.”

Races included prizes for mid-distance with a relay and a half-track relay. Turbo foam javelins were used instead for the javelin throw, and softballs were used for shot put. Kids tried to “glide” the ball as they would a shot put into a hula hoop to win prizes. Archuleta blew her whistle when it was time to switch and yelled out to the whole field to “switch stations.”

Participating girls competed against girls in first through third grade and fourth through sixth grade groups; so did the boys.

Turbo foam javelins were used instead for the javelin throw. Here, Kenzi Courchesne shows off his form.

“I really love running and I want to be in track. There’s no track for elementary school kids. I thought this was a good idea because kids like to run and have fun,” said Archuleta. Volunteers included Coach Drayk Cassamior, who helped train for relays. Cassamior ran Warwick High School track and field, and is now in college. Coach Trinity Bitting-Ellis and Coach Ryan Fegley are both Warwick High School track and field athletes.

Coach Marni Van Grouw is a local runner whose son participated in the clinic. Coach Barb Seddon is Archuleta’s aunt and was a sprinter in high school from out of the area. Coach Mike Choroneko, Archuleta’s grandfather, helped with throwing. He was a high school throwing coach in the 1980s, from out of the area. The kids competed fiercely, making a show of it for siblings, parents, and grandparents. All their best times were written on certificates at the mock track meet awards ceremony.

The proceeds from this year’s clinic are being donated to LEFC’s Creating Space Expecting Harvest fund.

Faye Ehrhart soars through the air in brightly colored sneakers as her competitors look on.

“You get $50 to start off your business. You give the money to the church for the build-up fund to make the church bigger so more kids can come,” said Archuleta. “Going to this church is really, really fun.”

Sarah Hummer is a freelance contributor for the Record Express. Contact her with story tips and comments at hummersarahj@hotmail.com. 

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