Polk athletes shine, help Outreach at 14th annual Reindeer Games

Published 12:20 pm Monday, December 18, 2023

In Alan Peoples’ world, there aren’t ever many bad days to host a track and field meet.

Certainly not one that also helps provide food to those in need at the holidays.

Polk County’s head track coach spent Saturday clad as Santa, greeting athletes, coaches and families arriving for the annual Reindeer Games, the part-track meet part-food drive held annually in G.M. Tennant Stadium.

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The brainchild of Polk assistant coach Amanda Simoncic, the 14th annual Reindeer included athletes from 14 schools. Franklin’s boys and girls teams dominated the day, easily winning the team competition.

But the real winner, as always, was Outreach. A van full of canned goods, brought by athletes and spectators, left Tennant Stadium early Saturday afternoon headed for the food pantry at Outreach, where they will be used to help feed area residents.

As she watched the last items being loaded, Simoncic also held a number of checks in her hand, those donations bound for Outreach as well.

“It was a great day to host a meet at Polk County High School,” Peoples said.

Polk County’s Chloe Young, left, and Thais Vorbe race toward the finish in the 55-meter hurdles

The Wolverines also had a pretty good day on the track and in the field. Karsyn Huskey won the 1000-meter run with a timer of 3:14.53. That’s the second-fastest time in the state thus far this season and the second-best time in the event in school history, trailing only the 3:07 run by Jennifer Dimsdale during the 1996-97 season.

Leah Dotson cleared 8-0 in the pole vault, qualifying for February’s state indoor championships, while Nathaniel Martinez just missed qualifying in the 500-meter run with his third-place time of 1:10.93.

Keaundrae Green took third in the 55-meter dash, Kole Powell finished third in the shot put, Davis Young grabbed third in the 3200-meter run and Tali Thompson placed fourth in the shot put to help lead the Wolverine efforts.

Polk County placed fourth in both the boys and girls team standings.



Canned good brought by athletes and spectators awaits delivery to the food pantry at Outreach