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Summertime exercising fun for kids

Saugus Sachems Summer Track Camp opens next week

 By Mark E. Vogler

Tiny six-year-old Naomi Tarantino could have a competitive edge despite her diminutive size if she decides to participate this summer in the Needham Youth Classic – the largest open youth outdoor track-and-field meet in the Northeastern United States.

Naomi’s dad is Christopher Tarantino, a Saugus High School track legend and a well-respected mentor of young athletes in track and cross-country. Naomi was among a group of about 15 young, aspiring athletes – ages five through 14 – who turned out Monday night for the 2018 Saugus Sachems Summer Track Camp.

“Our goal is to provide the children an opportunity to have fun exercising while learning the basics of track and field,” said Christopher Tarantino, who has been involved with the summer camp for 13 years.

“They will learn and have fun under the close supervision of experienced coaches. They will also have the opportunity to work with the older children who have experience in track programs,” he said.

Christopher Tarantino and his close friend, running buddy and mentor Stephen Boudreau – a 1965 Saugus High School graduate and track star – are running the program with the help of members of the high school track teams. Tarantino and Boudreau teamed up last year to resurrect cross-country running as an official Belmonte Middle School sport. On Monday the two friends were offering some pointers to the young athletes gathered at the William L. MacNeill Memorial Track & Field, which is located behind the Middle School at 25 Dow St., and named for legendary Sachems Coach William L. MacNeill.

The Sachems Summer Track Camp is sponsored by the Saugus Youth and Recreation Department.

The trial week concludes tonight (Friday, July 6). There has been no cost or commitment this week for the athletes receiving the ongoing training at the MacNeill Track.

The camp will begin next Monday (July 9) and last through Wednesday, July 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. nightly. The athletes are asked to arrive the first night for orientation, sign-in and additional information.

A Pasta Dinner at Prince Pizzeria, beginning at 6:30 p.m., is scheduled for Thursday, July 19. That day is also a make-up date, from 10 a.m. to noon, if needed.

Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21, are the dates for the Needham Youth Classic. Practice will be held Thursday, July 19, for the Needham Youth Classic (490 Dedham Ave. in Needham). The entry fee is included in the registration fee. Transportation is not provided. Check out the Needham Track Club website for more information: http://www.needhamtrack.org/.

Please wear comfortable running clothes and running sneakers and bring a water bottle. Camp highlights include individual instruction by experienced coaches, camp t-shirt and a chance to experience a real track event at the end of the track session. There will be a chance to learn a variety of track-and-field events and water balloon races.

The registration fee is $175 and includes the pasta dinner, t-shirt, uniform and entry fee in the Needham Youth Classic. Deduct $35 if you have a uniform from a previous year that you can still wear.

If you have any questions, please contact Coach Tarantino 781-854-6778.

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