After a three-year hiatus, the Knights of Columbus indoor track meet is back this Friday, with hundreds of students from Thompson’s seven elementary schools taking part.
The event was last held in 2019, when the École Riverside School Rams ended a 16-year run of Westwood School collecting the most overall points at the meet, which is open to students from Grades 3 to 8.
“COVID obviously put a damper on everything,” said Riverside gym teacher Martin Vermette.
Riverside is in charge of organizing the event in collaboration with the Knights of Columbus.
It’s Vermette’s second time being part of the organizational team.
“I’ve been here quite a few years,” says Vermette, adding that the students and staff at Riverside are happy to be part of the event’s long-awaited return. “They’re very excited and pumped. It’s a big community event that brings everybody together in the arena.”
Running for about 12 hours, starting at 9 a.m. and continuing into the evening, when the finals of many of the running events are held and the overall champion crowned, the track meet will take place in the C.A. Nesbitt Arena.
At their May 8 meeting, city council granted a request from the Knights of Columbus to waive half of the $1,438 cost to rent the arena for the whole day.
“The games have been an active part of the community since the 1970s and provide many students with a very good experience of sportsmanship, and a chance to meet students from other schools in Thompson,” said Knights of Columbus indoor games chairperson Mario LeClerc in a letter to the city requesting the 50 per cent fee waiver.
“It’s nice to start to get those extra events happening and getting back to normal,” said Riverside principal Jonathan Wamboldt. “There’s lots of volunteers to make it happen. We’re thankful for al the volunteers and the support of the Knights for promoting and actually funding the event.”
For those who can’t make it to the arena in person for either the daytime events and heats or the evening finals, which start at 7 p.m., the track meet will be livestreamed on YouTube.