Astoria Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, April 26, 2004


On April 16 and 17, over 2,100 young athletes from 131 New York City public, parochial, and independent schools competed in an historic outdoor citywide track & field competition. The Mayor’s Cup Track & Field Championship Meet, spearheaded by the Public School Athletic League (PSAL), was held in Astoria Park, Queens. During the two-day meet, athletes in both boys and girls divisions leaped over hurdles, high jumped and pole vaulted, ran the steeplechase, hurled discuses, and engaged in myriad other challenges, including runs, relays, and dashes. After strong competition, Harry S. Truman High School from the Bronx finished first overall in the boys division, and Monsignor Farrell High School from Staten Island finished first among girls teams.

"Bringing together hundreds of top young athletes from around the city for healthy competition goes hand-in-hand with Parks & Recreation’s commitment to providing first class spaces for recreational activities," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "City athletes competed on our recently renovated Astoria track & field complex to see who is New York’s fastest, strongest, and ‘bounciest.’"

After Friday afternoon’s events, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Commissioner Benepe handed out awards to top finishers in several boys and girls competitions, and Commissioner Benepe returned on Saturday to hand out a few more. The top six finishers in each race received long-sleeve T-shirts and medals. The first-place finishers received awards provided by the New York City Sports Commission.

"New York City has continuously been the stage on which so many wonderful track & field athletes compete and strive to achieve their Olympic dreams, including such greats as Bob Beamon, Diane Dixon, and John Carlos," said Sports Commissioner Kenneth Podziba. "We are delighted to provide this opportunity for our Olympians of tomorrow to pursue their dreams."

Track & Field Olympians who have attended New York City high schools include Bob Beamon, Kenneth Bantum, Diane Dixon, Cheryl Toussaint, John Carlos, Reggie Pearman, Marty Glickman, Irv Mondschein, Vince Matthews, Abel Kiviat, Bill Jankunis, Matt Centrowitz, Meredith Rainey, and Meredith Gourdine.

For more than 100 years, New York City has been a center for track & field—home to the Millrose Games, the nation’s oldest indoor track & field meet, the New York City Marathon, and, most recently, the National Track & Field Hall of Fame at the New Balance Track & Field Center. New York City’s track & field history also includes the 1936 Olympic trials, held on Randall’s Island, in which Jesse Owens began his journey into Olympic history.

Located under the Triborough Bridge, Astoria Park’s track was rebuilt in July 2000 and was recently supplied with 90 new hurdles, equipment for pole vault, discus, and shot put, and other necessary track & field equipment by Parks & Recreation and PSAL with funding from Snapple. The program has been supported by Parks & Recreation and PSAL in cooperation with the Sports Commission. The Catholic High School Athletic Association and the Association of Independent Schools offered additional organizational support.

Written by Eric Adolfsen


"Home is not where you live but where they understand you."

Christion Morgenstern

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