NEWARK – Some Newark fifth-graders found themselves surrounded by the tall timbers of the eighth-graders Saturday morning.
That was just fine, as far as Andre Crockwell was concerned. His son, Andre, who just turned 12, was playing in the 3-on-3 basketball tournament, which tipped off the first-ever Family Fun Carnival Day at Newark High School.
There were just 13 teams for the inaugural event, forcing some age divisions to consolidate. There were five boys teams and four girls teams ages 11to 13 as well as four boys teams ages 14 to 18.
“It always helps the younger kids when they play bigger, better competition,” Crockwell said. “This tournament has a good chance to grow in the future.”
“It was crazy,” said Nevin Thomas, who played on the younger Andre’s team. “You go in there and get your shots blocked, and it’s hard to stop them on defense. But it makes you better.”
The tournament was held in memory of Lou Mitchell, as a benefit for Mental Health America of Licking County’s suicide prevention program.
“We were able to raise money for a good cause,” Newark Athletic Director Jeff Quackenbush said.
The Newark Athletic Boosters also were able to raise money for the school’s sports programs through the Family Fun Carnival Day. Nearly every Wildcat sport was represented, by coaches, volunteers and athletes, through various athletic challenges and entertainment areas.
“Athletic transportation costs $70,000 for our sports teams, and this was just another way to help with that,” said Maryann Crist, of the Newark Athletic Boosters. “Each sport has its own fundraisers, and we have some for all the sports, like the jazz and rib fest and fish fries. This was a family event, for everyone of all ages.”
Each sport had its own event on a sweltering Saturday. Softball and baseball put on a softball home run derby. There was a warrior dash obstacle course put on by the wrestling team. Boys basketball had foul shooting, and girls basketball sold Wildcat apparel.
Cheerleading and girls basketball had a photo booth, where those interested could have pictures taken in Newark jerseys. There also was a football toss and a tennis target throw. Volleyball and swimming took care of inflatables, while track and cross country sold popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. Bowling offered face painting.
Thanks to the efforts of Duane Anderson and his son, Michael, the Newark golf team had 88 prizes to offer for its putt-putt competition. Michael will be a junior for the Wildcats, and in five days, they came up with prizes totaling nearly $1,000 from Arby’s, Big League Sports, Charley’s Steakery on 79, City Bar B Que, Donato’s, Don and Sue’s Pizza, Domino’s, Granville GolfLand, Longaberger Golf Club, Marco’s Pizza, McDonald’s, Pizza Cottage, Sopapilla Express, Subway and Wal-Mart.
“It was awful nice of the community to come together and make these donations,” Duane Anderson said. “This brings our sports community together; it’s not like each sport is just out for itself. This is the community working for Newark High School and Newark High School working for the community.”
Crist said the event will be held again next year, and Quackenbush expects bigger and better things.
“It was the first time for it, and the heat didn’t help us today,” he said.
Found in The Newark Advocate July 19, 2015