By Lynn Jones – The Bob Hayes Hall Invitational Track Meet (BHITM) launched with hundreds of families, friends and coaches attending the 13th annual Bob Hayes Hall of Fame Banquet held at the Lexington Hotel in downtown Jacksonville. “Here we are again, paying homage to our sports leadership in Jacksonville and the Bob Hayes legacy,” said BHITM founder and organizer Coach Nathaniel Washington. This year’s keynote speaker was Councilman Reginald Brown who inspired banquet guest in attendance to witness the Bob Hayes Community Service Awards and Hall of Fame Inductees honorees..
The banquet served as the prelude to one of Americas largest track and field competitions held Saturday bearing the Olympians namesake.
On Saturday, Raines High school was the scene for the annual track meet where over 200 middle and high school athletes’ competed for the championship trophy prize. The middle school meet is limited to 7th and 8th graders only. Each school is limited to three contestants in the individual events, and one contestant in the relay events. Trophy’s are awarded to coaches, most outstanding boy/girl athletes, ribbons for 2nd – 8th place, runner up and the championship trophy. Established in 1964, the event provides scholarships for young athletes and gives the community an opportunity to get involved and encourage young people to incorporate sports strategies on and off the field.