Bob Hayes Invitational Draws Thousands | Sports & Recreation

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Bob Hayes Invitational Draws Thousands
Bob Hayes Invitational Draws Thousands

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For the past four decades, the Bob Hayes Invitational has been the premier expo for young athletes in Florida.

It's T'Nayah Mitchelles second year in the competition. "Last year I did hurdles, and I came in 5th place. This year I came in first," she said.

With 5,000 competitors at the meet, Mitchelle says the environment at the Hayes Invitational pushes her to succeed.

"Usually we just go against teams from Orange Park, and now it's teams from Jacksonville, Miami. It's real competitive," she said.

Head Northwestern Track Coach Carter Williams agrees. "It's the bread and butter of this entire community," he said of the meet.

Watching his students get so excited about this meet, Williams says he's also nervous this could be the last year it's around.

Proposed budget cuts to education have a number of school districts scrambling to stay afloat. And an item on the chopping block could be school athletics.

"That's unfortunate, it will put us in a position where a lot of kids will fall by the wayside," Williams said.

For the kids in his track program, this meet is the highlight of their year. As head coach, Williams makes sure they earn it.

"We need these kids to fulfill their dreams, go out, work hard, to get that work ethic that's going to carry them through life, and this is where it starts," he said.

And Williams says how far they take it- should be up to the kids.

The meet runs all day Saturday.















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