La Crosse Track Club introduces youth to sport

Dennis Kline and Dan Schraith in 2011 decided to begin the La Crosse Track Club. In it’s first year, 10 athletes participated.

Now in 2014, 70 youth spend a couple of evenings a week outside of La Crosse Central High School doing their favorite events on the track and in the field.

“It’s important for the youth to have an introductory program, ability to see track and field, and to participate and learn fundamentals which really is the starting point before they can start competing at the middle school and high school levels,” said Schraith.

The club caters mostly to kids in elementary and middle school and supports them as they compete in local, statewide, and national competitions.

The nonprofit also has ten volunteer coaches. Former Central track and field standout Joe Gasper is one of them.

Just wrapping up his freshman season at South Dakota, he’s spending some of his free time helping out the La Crosse Track Club which includes giving some pointers to his young sister Julia.

Just a year ago Julia watched Joe compete at the state meet at Veterans Memorial Stadium. This Saturday it will be Joe watching Julia as La Crosse will host the Badger State Games.

“I saw my brother doing it. And now I get to do it for once so I can actually be like him,” said Julia.

Joe says it’s fun to pass on whatever knowledge he can to his sister.

“It’s just kind of cool to be able to teach what I’ve learned from being at college and what I’ve learned throughout the years and give it to her and see her succeed in what she’s doing.”