Lowndes County children invited to register for intramural track program

Published 4:57 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

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Lowndes County Athletics Director Nick Rankins announced Jan. 3 registration opened for an intramural kids track program.

Boys and girls in grades 3-6 can register through January for the program kicking off in February.

“My goal is to partner with other communities, such as Greenville and Montgomery, which have a kids track program,” Rankins said. “I want to be able to offer a program here in Lowndes County for third through sixth graders to teach track and introduce them to more sports besides football and basketball. The program will give them an activity that their parents can be engaged in as well.”

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The initiative is designed to give children in the county’s rural communities more extracurricular activities and to bring families together in fun activities which support their children.

“We see a lot [of information] about physical activity, blood pressure, diabetes, and other health concerns,” Rankins said. “This will encourage children to be active. Smaller kids really don’t have anything to do, so parents are excited because this will give their kids an opportunity to get out and do something different.”

Trent Woodley, PE teacher at Central Elementary School in Hayneville, is helping with the effort. He coached the school’s track team before COVID-19 concerns ended the program in 2019 and he has witnessed the benefits for children firsthand.

“Track helps [students] develop stamina, keeps them in shape, and keeps them motivated,” Woodley said. “It keeps parents involved too.”

Woodley requires children at Central to maintain good grades and behaviors, he explained. Kids who do not meet academic and behavior benchmarks cannot participate in the school’s athletic program.

“Track teaches discipline,” Woodley said. “If [students] act out in the classroom or don’t have good grades, I won’t allow them to participate in sports.”

Children’s athletic programs create opportunities for the whole family to support younger students too, Woodley added.

We have high school sports and children go out to watch big brother or cousin play,” Woodley said. “If we have a third-grader on the track team, those high school students can come see them participate and cheer them on.”

According to Rankins, children can register through their elementary or middle school physical education teacher or directly with his office.

“I’m working through PE coaches because they have hands-on access with the kids,” Rankins said. “They can teach the track element. If we don’t have enough enrolled for teams at each school, we will designate teams from registrants and ask local PE coaches to work with the kids.”

All track meets will be held at The Calhoun School. All Lowndes County children in grades 3-6 may participate.

There is a $25 signup fee to register. For more information, contact Nick Rankins at (334) 227-4515 or nrankinss@lownesboe.org.