Young Athletes' Track Skills Get Them All The Way To Calif. 24 Area Winners Will Compete At The Jesse Owens Games.

Posted: August 03, 1993

Taking her stand, Amy Campbell concentrated on the distance ahead of her and began her run.

Hitting her mark, she jumped from the red clay track and was airborne for a few seconds before landing in the soft sand. The first of several practice runs, it did not match her best long jump of 15 feet, 7 inches, but it still felt good.

"I've been running track since I was in third grade, and it's the sport I like the best," said Campbell, 14, who will be a freshman at Cardinal O'Hara High School in the fall.

"Waiting to compete is the hardest part, but it's exciting when the jump itself is over in just a minute."

Her greatest competition excitement may be this Thursday through Sunday, when Campbell, of Upper Providence Township, joins Jim Quinn, 11, of Wallingford; Colin Benner, 13, of Drexel Hill, and Erin Doogan, 13, of Haverford Township, as representatives of the Philadelphia CYO-Delaware County Track Team at the Jesse Owens Games in California.

The 29-year-old competition honors Owens, who won four track-and-field gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, and is sponsored by Arco and the Arco Chemical Co., said Jean Sumrall, an event organizer with the Philadelphia Department of Recreation.

She said this year's national competition brought together boys and girls born between 1979 and 1986 who are first-place winners of one of eight regional Jesse Owens track events.

This year, she said, there are 24 first-place winners from the Philadelphia area, including four from Delaware County, whose travel and accommodations will be paid by Arco.

The games are based on Owens' belief that organized, recreational competition was an effective tool for developing and building character in children and for promoting friendship and sportsmanship, Sumrall said.

Besides winning sports medals, participants are asked to write an essay about Owens' beliefs and their own educational goals.

Essay winners receive a $2,000 scholarship toward future college or trade school tuition, she said.

Benner, who is going into eighth grade at St. Andrews School in Drexel Hill, began running in fourth grade. His event is the 1,500 meters, and his best time is 4 minutes, 43 seconds.

"I play basketball, soccer and baseball, but I like the excitement of long-distance running," Benner said.

Having started running track at age 5, Quinn, a long-jump winner at a distance of 15 feet, 5 inches, is entering seventh grade at Strath Haven Middle School in Wallingford.

"I started because my dad (Bob Quinn) was coaching track," Quinn said. ''It's a sport I'd like to stay with the rest of my life."

Doogan, whose best time in the 400 meters is 63 seconds, will be a freshman this fall at Haverford High School. "Track, cross-country, indoor track - I like them all because you don't have to count on other team members and they are not counting on you," she said.

"This is a sport where you just have to try and do your best for yourself," she said.

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