Matthew Quinn, 10, a Molin fourth-grader who runs the 400 and 800, started the Hershey program two years ago. He has been down to the statewide competition twice and will be headed to Hudson again this year. Quinn, who also plays soccer and basketball, placed sixth in the 400 in his second year.
“They can expect a lot of pressure and a lot of people watching,” Quinn said of the newcomers this year. “And it just feels great afterwards.”
Now in her second year in the program, Casey Pedersen, 10, a fourth-grader at the Page School in West Newbury, used to play soccer but has recently focused solely on track.
“I just like to run,” said Pedersen. “There are not too many rules, and you get to do a lot of the events.”
This will be Pedersen’s first time at the state meet, where she will run the 200.
“I just don’t want to be under pressure too much,” said Pedersen.
Headed down for her third trip is Molin fifth-grader Olivia Sousa, 11, who will be competing in the standing long jump. She placed eighth two years ago and seventh last year.
“I like it because you get to see how far you really can go,” Sousa said of the standing long jump.
“There are a lot of people, and there is pressure,” Sousa said. “Because there are people there that you don’t know, and you don’t know how fast they are. I think I am going to do OK. Because sometimes when I try it, I get scared.”
Sousa and her friends will also be joined by Nathan Miller, Connor Miles, Dreese Fadil, Nicholas Gonzalez, Thomas Tracy, Jaryd Plante, Erin Sullivan, Kayla Pelletier, Kelsey Soule, Maeve Taylor and Katherine O’Connor.
“They are a great group,” McCormick said. “They’ve been working really hard, and they should do well. It’s pretty heavy competition, but they should do well.”