A sea of smiles and a roaring crowd beckoned children in grades K through eight across finish lines April 25 at Tonto Basin School's 2008 Field Day.
The thundering sound of athletic shoes on gravel filled the air last Friday, as about 66 students competed in annual track and field events.
The mêlée of scurrying feet started at 8 a.m. and lasted until 11 a.m.
In the first heat of the 50-yard dash for first-graders, 7-year-old Chloe Meeske came in first with an ear-to-ear grin as she crossed the finish line.
In the second heat of the 50-yard dash, first-grader Dylan Zimmer had a time of 8.19 seconds, and his opponent, Chris Crowder, crossed the white line at 8.18 seconds.
"It was a dead heat, only one one-hundredth of a second difference," said one official timekeeper.
And that's how the morning went as the children went from field to field for the different events.
All of the kids competed in all events, 50- and 100-yard dash, discus, shot put, running long jump and basketball.
As for who walked away with the most wins of the day, special education teacher Heidi Goebel said staff and administrators consider all of the students winners.
"For our track and field day, all our students are winners. We had a fantastic day with family and friends," said principal Johnny Ketchem.
"We only had about three kindergartners, so I put them in with the firstgraders and they did really well," said teacher Mary McLellan.
She said the kindergartners had only two weeks to practice, compared to three weeks for the other grades.
"Coach Kathy Jo Hill, our physical education teacher, worked with the older kids about 40 minutes a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays," McLellan said.
Meeske said it was fun running in events Friday, but she enjoys her classroom activities just as well.
When she isn't speeding down the track, she ranks science among her favorite topics.
"We just did a project where we grew butterflies," she said. "We put food in cups with a worm and they grew up. It is already a butterfly, but I don't know what kind."
Parents and grandparents attending Friday's events said the community typically shows up in good numbers to the annual event.
Mandy and Bill McLure's second-grader, Alexis, participated in the events.
They said they have been coming to Field Day for two years and are always impressed with community turnout and involvement.
All of the judges and officials at the event were school staff or community volunteers.