When Warwick’s Toni Andersen wanted to sign her son up for a youth track program, she had to go to Cranston and connect him with the Cranston League for Cranston’s Future track group.
And then it hit her.
“Running is just a great sport,” said Andersen. “My son loves to run. We did the CLCF track program in the third grade and we loved it. So we wondered, ‘Why is there no program in Warwick?’”
Andersen along with the help of directors Ron Celio and Kristine Polichetti stepped up to the plate and started the Warwick Wolves cross country program last fall. This spring, the Wolves have been back on the scene with a track program.
They had 42 kids in their inaugural cross country season, even as running as a youth sport can get lost in the shuffle.
“I think it does get overlooked,” said Andersen. “We tried to find places to run in the fall and people would say, ‘You can’t run there. That’s reserved for soccer, that’s reserved for baseball.’ We had to get creative. We look to get kids interested. There is no other middle school track program in Warwick.”
Both the Wolves and CLCF track programs are getting ready for their big spring event, the Hershey Park qualifier, which is generating a lot of excitement. If the competitors run well in the qualifier, they will get an all-expense paid trip to Hershey Park, Penn.
It is an opportunity for kids from Warwick to compete where they previously never had the chance to do so. However Andersen wanted to make it clear that this program is open to all kids in Warwick, regardless of how competitively they choose to run.
“Some kids just love to run,” said Andersen. “As far as competitive running goes, some kids just do it for fun. By getting awareness out there, we hope to build a better foundation for our program.”
The Wolves look to model their program after the CLCF track program. CLCF hosted a meet earlier this spring, which the Wolves attended. Andersen has been in contact with CLCF Track Director Frank Notarianni since the start of her own program, and hopes to duplicate his success.
“We aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel,” said Andersen. “We hope to be on their level. The goal is a quality program, so I’m glad we started out small. We hope to be hosting our own event this time next year.”
For more information, visit warwickwolves.net.