Track and field meets are great because they give young athletes the chance to try several different types of events. There are sprints, middle distance, and distance running events as well as a variety of jumping and throwing field events. Most youth meets are organized through teams associated either with USATF (USA Track & Field) or the (AAU) Amateur Athletic Association.
My kids competed at meets sponsored by USATF so this chart below represents the events that are available at those meets. I believe that AAU is similar or the same.
|Event / Age Group||7-8||9-10||11-12||13-14||15-16||17-18|
Generally, athletes that are 12 years old and younger can compete in three events and older athletes can compete in four. Interestingly, while the relays count as an event for the athlete, a multi-event (triathlon, pentathlon, heptathlon and decathlon) does not count against the overall events for an athlete.
Athletes must compete in their own age group, which is determined by the age of the athlete on December 31st of the competition year. For example, a group of three girls who all turn 13 years old on January 1, 2017, June 30, 2017, and December 31, 2017, will all compete together in the 13-14 age group during the current track season. This age group determination also holds true for cross-country in the fall.
Following is a list of the events which comprise the multi-event competitions:
Triathlon Events – High Jump, Shot Put, 200m/400m (girls/boys)
Pentathlon Events – 100m hurdles, Shot Put, High Jump, Long Jump, 800m/1500m run (girls/boys)
Heptathlon Events – 100m Hurdles, High Jump, 200m dash, Shot Put, Long Jump, Javelin, 800m Run
Decathlon Events – 100m dash, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump, 400m dash, 110m Hurdles, Discus, Pole Vault, Javelin, 1500m run
The most important thing a new track and field athlete can do is to try out as many events as possible in their first few seasons. You never know what may end up being your favorite and/or best event, so try them all and have fun.