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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

PVHS athlete sponsors grade school track event Saturday

Updated: May 8



Prairie View junior Mary Jane Britz unwinds in the discus event. The thrower loves track so much that she is organizing a track meet for Prairie View district elementary students this Saturday. (Submitted photo)



Mary Jane Britz loves track.


The Prairie View High School junior, a thrower who competes in discus and shot put and was on the 3A Kansas state championship girls team from Prairie View last year, got into track when she was a kid. In addition to throwing, she is adding hurdles to her events this year.


And now, with the help of family and volunteers, she has organized a track meet for Prairie View district students 5 to 11 years old this Saturday, April 27. Events will include a special race for athletes 4 years old and younger.


The meet will be held at the Prairie View track and will begin at 10 a.m. with registration from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. The event is free, and while children placing in the top six competitors in each event will receive ribbons noting their accomplishment, all competitors will receive a ribbon.


There will be separate divisions for boys and girls in each event, and competitors can enter any and all events in their age group. Britz said she encourages families to come out and enjoy the event.


The events include 50- and 100-meter dashes, tennis and softball throws and long jump for the younger students, with older student events including 200- and 400-meter runs. The order of events and the events by age are at the bottom of this story.


The Britz family will be helping their oldest daughter run the track meet on Saturday. Family members include, front row from left, Isaac, mother Emily, father Hendrik; back row, Mack, Mary Jane, and Henry. (Submitted photo)


She said that she is getting help with the grade school meet from her family, friends, staff and school organizations


Getting an early start in track as an elementary student no doubt has kept her motivated. And that motivation has paid off. At the 2023 state meet, Britz took 10th place in the shot put with a then personal record throw of 34’8”. She placed third at regionals with a put of 34’4”.


Britz said her hope is to ignite in the next generation of Prairie View students the same passion she has for track and field sports.


“I lived in Wisconsin before moving to Kansas and, while there, the track team put on a youth track meet every year,” Britz said. “My mom even did it when she was younger. I went to the track meet that they put on as a kid, and it was something I looked forward to each spring.”


She said that as she got older, she tried other sports, but she always liked track more. 


“Something about track is that you are in charge of your results,” she said. “I enjoy team sports, but the love is not the same as my love towards track. Track is the best of both worlds; you can cheer on your teammates while still competing for yourself.”


She said that track is a sport that track and field sports often overlook when students choose a more popular sport like softball and baseball.


“It is a sport that any and all different kinds of athletes can participate in,” Britz said. “As a child I realized that I don't have to be a ‘superstar’ athlete. I can just get out there and try something new and be active. 


“There are little Buffs for most of the other sports, so I wanted to share my passion for track by doing something for the community.”



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