LAKELAND - Whether they run, jump, or throw, students across the province are being given a chance to participate in track and field, just in a different way.
“We wanted to do something that would challenge them, but would also keep them safe and allow them to do it at home or at school or wherever they can,” said Shanna Kurylo, Alberta Schools' Athletic Association (ASAA) program director for inclusive sports.
Using Athletic.net, a program that acts as a platform allowing students to submit their track and field results, the ASAA has invited student-athletes to take part in an individual virtual sporting event.
Kurylo explained, “There’s an app most kids will choose to download, they can also do it from the website, but there are a number of different running, jumping, and throwing events. They record their performances and they can do that a number of different ways."
Athletes hitting the track for example may choose to include the stop watch in their video, while those participating in a throwing event could show someone measuring the distance.
Once the content is uploaded, a coach needs to verify the results, and "the platform takes care of it from there."
As of mid-last week, Kurylo said roughly 15 high schools had submitted entries.
“I think a lot of that has to do with students just going back to school this week and that transition period is making it a little tricky for teachers who have a little extra on their plate,” she detailed.
The event, which includes not only high school but also junior high school, para-athletes, and special Olympic athletes, has been extended from its original June 5 deadline to June 11.
Even mascots are being encouraged to get in on the fun.
“It’s not so much about being the best, you obviously get bragging rights for being the best, but we also want to see as many kids out and working toward something and trying something as possible. It’s a chance to get out and participate and be a part of your school team for the first time in more than a year,” Kurylo expressed.
She added, “We just really hope this helps students with their mental health along with their physical health. We know how difficult of a year it has been."
For more information about the ASAA Virtual Track and Field Challenge, visit athletic.net.