2011-08-05 / Sports

Far Rock/FDA VI X-Country Runners Seeking Community Help

By Elio Velez

The Far Rockaway/FDA VI student-athletes who compete in cross country have plenty to do before they even step on the track.

There are hours of training for the boys and girls at the beach or at the school in preparation for the fall campaign. Unfortunately for the runners at Far Rockaway, however, it takes more than just showing up to the meet.

The cross-country runners require funds for travel, food and other expenses. The team receives little to no funding from the school or the PSAL, so they fundraise by such methods as selling candy.

And in the years that Far Rockaway coach Eric Stein has guided the team, he has seen many of his runners take on the challenge with a full head of steam. It is his intention to help the runners who will compete this fall for the Seahorses to give them a chance to become even better athletes.

The cross-country team is raising funds to send as many student-athletes as possible on August 14 to Camp Pontiac in upstate Copake, New York.

The week-long camp is headed by Bill Wagner, a cross-country coach for 27 years at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. Wagner has taught numerous athletes who have won either city or state championships.

“This year we don’t have the funds to send too many kids to the camp,” Stein said. “Money has been tight. We have been trying hard.”

Some kids have been able to scrounge up a few dollars from their part-time jobs. But it isn’t enough to pay the costs of sending most of the team upstate.

The team would be grateful to the community if they can contribute just a bit from their pockets.

“It’s a whole week of training. They get to learn cross country from the best coaches. They get to network with their counselors who are college athletes and college coaches,” Stein said.

The camp will also provide a bonding experience for the Seahorses with other kids who travel from all over the state. They can take part in many activities ranging from swimming to roller skating and watching movies.

“There also are chances to connect with kids from other backgrounds and have fun,” Stein added. “It’s an eye opening experience.”

Senior cross-country runner Jonathan Celaya has gained some college interest by heading to the camp the last three years. St. Francis College, Stratton and Bryant University are just some of the schools which have contacted Celaya.

If anyone is interested in providing funds for the student-athletes at Far Rockaway/FDA VI, you can contact head coach Eric Stein at estein3@schools nyc.gov or call 1-646-549-3198.

“It’s a great chance for these kids to achieve bigger and better things,” Stein added.

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