27th Annual Chehalis Activators Classic Starts Friday
By Matt Baide
The 27th annual Chehalis Activators Classic track and field meet is set for this Friday and Saturday at W.F. West High School in Chehalis.
The track meet will feature over 20 schools, with many local Lewis County schools participating as well as a few schools from Grays Harbor County and schools from Canada, including Maple Ridge and Thomas Haney.
“It looks to be as big and as wonderful as it ever has been,” meet director J.T. Eklund said. “We’re excited to have our Canadian teams come back. … I think this is going to be as big as any year we’ve ever had and we’re excited about it.”
Eklund runs the event for the Chehalis Activators, a nonprofit organization that provides funding for Chehalis Middle School athletics.
The meet was originally started by former Bearcat track coach Don Lakin, who wanted to create a track meet that allowed everyone to participate and not just the best players from each team.
“The Activators track meet was set up originally to allow for an opportunity for every single kid turning out that shows up gets to participate in the four events that they want to participate in,” Eklund said. “It’s kind of like how it is in middle school, where they let everybody compete in the events they want to do. That doesn’t happen in high school. This meet does that — it captures those that don’t often get a chance to show their stuff so everybody gets to shine.”
The meet started out just as an area track meet, but has grown over the years and brought in teams from different places including throughout Washington, Canada and Alaska.
The meet is broken up into two days. Friday is the Activator Invitational, which includes all athletes that want to participate in the meet. Eklund said they usually run 14 heats of the boys 100 meter dash, and the meet on Friday has run until midnight in some years due to the amount of participants.
Saturday is the Activators Classic, where the best of the best compete in a more traditional high school track meet. The work for the meet is all done and put on by members of the Chehalis Activators, with all the funds raised during the meet going towards middle school sports.
Since 2005, the club has generated over $113,000 for whatever is needed to support Chehalis Middle School athletics.
Admission to the meet is $2 for students, $3 for adults and $7 for families.
“It’s a feel good thing and it’s a lot of work, but we all smile and we all enjoy the credit of putting this thing on every year,” Eklund said.