BOWLING GREEN — MaKayla Edmond of Rossford dashed across the gym with a plastic bottle in her hand.
She dumped the bottle into a cardboard box, then picked up another bottle from an inflatable pool. She then rushed back to her teammates, one of whom was already on the start line, waiting for her to finish as the team cheered.
“I like doing this because you can go around and have fun and make new friends,” the 9-year-old said once her team of five had finished the relay.
MaKayla, who attends Indian Hills Elementary School, was one of about 500 fourth and fifth-grade students who participated in the 15th annual Wood County Youth Olympics on Saturday. There were about 250 in the morning session and about the same number in the afternoon.
It took about 200 volunteers to run the games.
“It’s good to see that kids are doing something positive, learning how to work as a team, learning cooperation,” said Joe Szymczak, 65, of Bowling Green, a part-time charter-school teacher who volunteered at the games.
Young Edmond, a fourth grader, competed in the morning session. Once she was done at the bottle-toss relay, she marched to her next event with her team.
The games’ 10 events included Quiz Bowl, Ping Pong Ball Toss, Balloon (bottle) Pass, Scooter Slalom, Long Jump, Plunger Ball, Target Toss, Obstacle Course, Turn Over a New Leaf, and Pipeline Relay.
The teams kept competing even between the events and once they were over, trying to drown out each other by delivering the loudest chant. One of the loudest of them sounded like “Fast! Ferocious! Go! Go! Go!” One could hear the participants’ chants and cheering from the parking lot adjacent to the brick building.
The children appeared genuinely excited, with many laughing and some yelling to one another other over other people’s heads.
Ellen Roberts, 10, of Bowling Green said she decided to participate after watching her older sister, Lucy Roberts, 12, a seventh-grade student at Otsego Junior High in Tontogany, Ohio, compete in the games in 2010 and 2011.
“It looked like fun, so I decided to do it. I’ll do it again next year,” the fourth-grade student at Otsego Elementary School in Tontogany said after competing in Scooter Slalom, where the hardest part seemed to be to keep from sliding off a four-wheel contraption without touching the floor with one’s hands.
The games were at Bowling Green State University’s Perry Field House. Organizers said 280 medals were awarded.
Contact Mike Sigov at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.