Lincoln Track-A-Thon Teams Generate More Than $12,000

Crowd kept busy with wide variety of activities

The USD #298 Track Fundraising Committee’s Track-A-Thon was deemed an overwhelming success by organizers after dozens of people of all ages gathered at the track at Lincoln’s Mettner Field on Saturday night, May 6th.

Fifteen fundraising teams featuring walkers (and a few runners) of all ages turned hundreds of combined laps during the six-hour event that started shortly after 6:00 p.m. and ran to Midnight.

The fundraising teams generated at least $12,000 in the form of either flat donations or pledges per lap. Organizers believe that number will increase later this week when all the pledged funds are collected.

The team raising the most funds and taking home the grand prize of tickets to the Josh Turner concert donated by the Stiefel Theatre was the Golden Girls, featuring former Lincoln track state champions Jo (Hartzell) Wallace, Debbie (Byarlay) Webb, Jo Gruber, and their friends and family. The Sole Sisters, a group of Lincoln sixth grade girls, walked the most laps on the night, while The Walkie Talkies team of parents with children in Island Daycare won the prize for best T-Shirt design.

“It was a really special night at Lincoln’s Mettner Field,” fundraising committee chair John Baetz said. “Certainly the committee was optimistic for a good turnout, but we were thrilled with not only the turnout, but the participation. From youth to adult, all of the activities were busy from start to finish.”

The Lincoln High School PEP band played the National Anthem as the VFW Post #7928 Honor Guard raised the flag. The band continued to play songs throughout the first hour of the night under the direction of Lincoln music teacher Jordan Riggs.

Recently retired Lincoln P.E. teacher Shari Pittenger organized a fun slate of youth activities and together with the assistance of first-year P.E. teacher Chase Klozenbucher, and a number of high school student volunteers, children of all ages enjoyed a host of races, competitions, and field events.

A highlight of the evening was the mixed relay races that saw 11 teams of adults and kids complete a 400 meter relay race. There were so many teams the races had to be run in two flights, one featuring adults with elementary school aged children and the second with adults and high school students.

A number of area businesses donated prizes and gift certificates to the event, the Lincoln PTCO operated the concession stand from the start of the event until nearly 11:00 p.m., Biggie Biggs sold single slices of pizza from 10:00 to midnight, and Mike Cheney entertained the late night crowd with karaoke.

Entering the evening the committee had raised $119,000 and together with funds raised during the Track-A-Thon and additional major donations the committee is optimistic the goal of $500,000 to renovate the Lincoln track is within reach. Look for more details in the weeks to come and remember to follow the USD #298 Fundraising Committee on Facebook.

Proposed track renovations at Lincoln USD #298
Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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