Youth Sports

Track meet helps kids bridge gaps

Tahj-Rae Allen of Jamaica’s Camperdown team wins a preliminary in the 100 meters during Saturday’s competition at Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar.
Tahj-Rae Allen of Jamaica’s Camperdown team wins a preliminary in the 100 meters during Saturday’s competition at Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar. For the Miami Herald

On the second day of the Northwest Express Track and Field Classic on Saturday, there were some 2,000 kids running, jumping and throwing at the Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar.

More importantly, the kids were meeting and talking to each other, in most cases for the first time. That’s a seemingly natural thing about kids — they can make a friend in a matter of minutes. And they don’t even have to speak the same language.

That’s what is happening at this massive melding of track and field and kids.

LaQueta O’Neil, 31, coach of the Runners Express Track Club out of Miami Gardens, has seen it up close and personal.

“This meet is great exposure for the kids,” she said with a smile. “They are meeting kids from all across the world, kids in countries that they might never get to visit. They learn what the other countries are about and what the kids there do.

“They learn about other about other cultures.”

O’Neil calls such trading of ideas and knowledge a “great thing” — probably more so than watching one of her pint-sized athletes win a race or a field event.

“All these kids, from different places, get along great,” she said. “No problem.”

The finish line, so to speak, according to O’Neil, is: “They have a great time together.”

▪ The Northwest Express meet goes into its third and final day on Sunday with the first runners on the starting line at 10 a.m. A large portion of the age-group finals for the meet take place Sunday.

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