For the fourth year, Smith-Cotton will host an all-sports combine for athletes in grades 5-12 on March 9.
“We structure it like the NFL combine but it’s for all sports, not just football,” said Smith-Cotton quarterbacks coach Ryan Boyer.
Organizers invited boys and girls from 60-70 schools from around the area.
“We can also use it as motivation because some of the schools we compete against come down and we see the kids in a different setting and a different element,” Boyer said.
Many of the elements of the combine are things that Smith-Cotton athletes experience during practice.
“They get an idea of where they are compared to other kids outside of Sedalia or outside of their team,” Boyer said.
The event has steadily grown since it began. Last year there were over 150 athletes participating. This year organizers are expecting more than 200.
“The first year we had it, it was at the Mathewson Center and I think we invited five or six schools and maybe 60 to 70 kids,” Boyer said. “That first year was kind of a trial run to see where this goes. The second year we did it out at the high school. It’s really grown and we’re excited to see where it will be this year.”
Boyer said he hopes events like this get students interested in joining any of the sports teams or extracurricular activities their school offers.
“Kids get an opportunity to meet the coaches, coaches get to meet the kids,” Boyer said.
All athletes at the combine can test their skills in the 40-yard dash, agility, vertical jump, long jump and shuttle run. Athletes in grades 5 and 6 will do push-ups and those in grades 7-12 will do a sled drive and bench press.
Each athlete will be given a scorecard to chart what their times and scores are. After the combine, organizers will post the results online so each athlete can see how he or she stacks up against other athletes.
Registration for grades 5-8 begins at 9 a.m. and grades 9-12 will register beginning at 10:20 a.m. The cost is $5.
“We encourage the younger kids — if they want to stick around for the next session they get to see the high school kids compete,” Boyer said.