Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 11, 2019
Sedgwick girl chases Olympic dream
Maranda Pert competes in the javelin event at a middle school track and field meet earlier this year.
by Monique Labbe
At 12 years old, Maranda Pert already knows exactly what her biggest dream is: to be an Olympian in track and field. This week, Pert gets her chance to qualify for the Hershey National Junior Olympic Track and Field championships, by competing at the regional championships in New York. The first day of competition is July 11, and will wrap up on the 14th. The top six qualify for a spot at the national championship on July 22-28.
Pert said she understands her goal is a lofty one, but that is one thing she loves about the sport she competes in.
“I love that there is never an ending point. I can set a goal and once I accomplish it there is always a new goal,” she said. “I also love that even though you are competing against other people at the end of the meet there is no hatred toward one another.”
The opportunity to compete at the national level is big for a young girl from a small town in Maine, but it also comes with financial hardship. Her mother, Carrie Snow-Munson, and her step father Jeff Hamilton, have been working hard to support their daughter’s dream, and have been able to manage all of the travel and expenses through Pert’s state competitions. The travel, lodging and other expenses for the regional and national championships are more expensive, though, and Pert took to Facebook to ask for help from her community.
On June 23, Pert started a fundraiser, Maranda’s Olympic Dream, with the hope of raising $5,000 to help cover the expenses that will accrue over the next month. As of July 10, she had successfully reached that goal.
“[The support] makes me really happy. It has shown me just how many people are rooting for me. Without the support of the community I would not have this opportunity, so it means everything to me and my family,” she said.
Pert, who will be an eighth grader at Brooksville Elementary School in the fall, is confident that she will move forward through the regional finals and into the national championship. She also understands that once there, she will be competing against the best runners and field competitors in the country.
“I am really happy and excited. I don’t expect to win at the national level but I’m excited for the experience and I’m excited to learn from the best and to meet new friends,” said Pert.
Pert said that the success she has had, and hopes to continue to have, is because of her friends and family, as well as her coach David Stearns. She will have her team behind her this week as she competes to take the first step in making her Olympic dream happen.