FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Sacred Heart University's track and field team hosted students of Bridgeport’s Blackham Middle School’s for a recent throwing clinic.
The clinic was created by Valerie Wherley, professor of exercise science, and organized by Lindsay Aponte, a senior exercise science student and track & field co-captain. The students learned exercises that will help them improve their throwing skills of track implements such as the shot put, javelin and discus.
Aponte said she enjoyed sharing her love of both exercise science and track & field with the kids. “We ran a fundraiser at Halloween called the Trick or Treat Trot to raise money for their program. Today’s clinic is another way that we can show our support for them,” she said.
During the hourlong clinic, the students practiced a variety of training exercises—some with kid-friendly names such as “Squash the Bug” or “Elbow the Dwarf, Punch the Giant.” For most of the students, it was their first time on a college campus.
This is not the first time that Wherley has organized training sessions between SHU students and the Blackham Middle School track & field team. “Sacred Heart has been very helpful to us. Last year, two seniors came to our school every week to work with the kids, and our students loved them,” said Chris Kinsley, who coaches the Blackham team. “We wanted to find an extra-curricular program that would keep the students healthy and busy after school and also be a feeder to build up the high school programs. Sacred Heart has helped us accomplish that.”
Led by SHU’s throwing coach, Steve Santoli, a total of 21 SHU athletes participated in the clinic.
“Part of Sacred Heart’s mission is to give back to the local community. With programs like these, we not only help the middle schools students with their training, but we expose them to a college campus and hopefully get them thinking about the possibility of college for themselves,” Wherley said.