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NARRAGANSETT—Tyler Pereira and his family will go on a long journey this Friday to Hershey, Pennsylvania, although it is not to visit the famed chocolate company’s headquarters. Pereira, for a second time, will be competing in the Hershey-sponsored Track and Field Games North American Final, a competition attended by numerous, qualified young athletes from across the country.
“I think it is a wonderful opportunity,” said Shirley Pereira, Tyler’s mother. “[The competition] exposes him to athletes in not only our small towns, but from across the US, and it is a big event that all of the children that enjoy.”
“If he enjoys it, then we support it,” she added.
Tyler will compete in the 100 meter run after a long competitive process, progressing from local races to the state finals, which took place at Rhode Island College this year.
“This is a great opportunity for me to get recognized,” said Tyler. “It is really awesome that kids like me can show their talent and be really good.”
“I hope all this hard work will pay off for me,” he added. “I know all of my friends are rooting for me.”
“The competition starts at the school level across the country,” said Shirley. “We had our event in South Kingstown and then they take the top runners in each event. We then went to the state event at RIC, competing against all the athletes in Rhode Island. Whoever wins in each event, their times are then compared against the times of those in the New England region.”
As a participant, he will stay separate from his parents in lodgings at the Milton Hershey School. Shirley praised the professionalism and organization of the Hershey-sponsored event.
“The kids have a lot of camaraderie and it is a very organized event from beginning to end, from the moment the kids step forward onto the college,” said Shirley. “The parents don’t really see the athletes, so that gives the time for them to be independent.”
“This event is an amazing thing, and even Olympic athletes will be there, so really a lot of fun for the kids,” she added. “We are really looking forward to another positive time.”
Having participated in the 50 meter run at 10 years old, Tyler wants to take the competition more seriously this time around, training and eating more healthily.
“I workout three days a week and I am on sort of a diet, and eating healthy kind of lifestyle,” said Tyler. “I ride my bike at the Narragansett track, do a few sprints, hill runs, and bunch of agility [exercises], which gets my muscles moving so I can get stronger and stronger every day and run faster.”
“When I went there for the fist time, wasn’t training at all and just going for fun,” he added. “It was a blast and one of the best times of my life, but right now I also want to win. I want to go down there and come back with a medal.”
Tyler joined Narragansett Pier School’s Track and Field team this past year mid-season after recovery from a broken collarbone. He plays nua mber of team and individual sports, from basketball to baseball, demonstrating that the injuy has not slowed him down. Shirley still wants her son to succeed, however, in academics as well as athletics.
“School always comes first and we really try to encourage him to put his best foot forward,” said Shirley. “We want him to be active and to particiapte in team and individual sports, helping with his overall confidence and his feeling good about himself.”
“He pretty much excels at anything he puts his mind to,” she added.
On August 4, the Pereira family will be in Hershey, Pennsylvania to cheer their only son on, supporting his endeavors as he strives to reach his lofty goal.