Serving the community since 1970

Good competition at Pond Running Club

Athletes come from all over the United States to compete with the Pond Running Club.

"They compete first in the Central California area, and after qualifying, then compete in the regional, which could be the East Coast, West Coast or Midwest," says founder and coach Humberto Vargas.

Students from McFarland, Delano, Wasco, Arvin, Lamont, Richgrove and Shafter compete for the local club. "There are a few kids from Bakersfield who also participate," he says.

"Last year's nationals were held in Greensboro, North Carolina. This year's will be in Sacramento, and next year's will be held somewhere in the Midwest," Vargas added. "They try to rotate the location every year."

"In addition, last year we had 23 students who qualified for relays, 4X4, 4X1 and the 800 meter open," Vargas said. "The events athletes compete in include long jump, triple jump, relays, shot put and discus."

Athletes are placed in categories, such as Bantam (9-10 years old), Midgets (11-12 years old), Youth (13-14 years old) and Intermediates (15-16 years old

Practice begins the beginning of May, under the guidance of the United States Association of Track & Field, or USATF.

"In addition, under the USATF, the athletes will compete under the Junior Olympic Association," Vargas said.

The students go to meets at different parks in the central valley. The state meet will be in Sacramento this year from July 21-28. All qualifiers from USATF will then head to the Junior Olympics.

"It's too early to tell who will qualify this year," Vargas said. "My 10-year-old daughter, Julissa Vargas, made the Junior Olympics last year and placed 15th in the nation. She competed in the 800-meter (l/2 mile), the 1,500 meter (almost a mile) and the 4x400 relay (mile).

Vargas also stated that the club takes kids from 6 years old all the way to high school.

Even though the entry fee to belong to the club is only $20, Vargas explained the team does a lot of fundraising in order to attend the out-of-town meets during the season. "Last year, we took 43 kids to Rancho San Rafael in Reno to the International Junior Olympics."

Signups are open and ongoing through May, and anyone interested can contact Coach Vargas at 661-778-9764.


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