Devon Smith learned of the all-comers track and field meets from some friends on the Half Moon Bay High School track and field team and coach Paul Farnsworth.
The meets give athletes a chance to work on some skills or try new events.
For Smith, a recent graduate, the meets give a chance to work on his specialty event, the high jump.
“There was no pressure to do well,” Smith said. “It’s a fun, laid-back meet.”
Smith told his friend Jacob Hines, who, prior to summer, was not aware of the meets.
“Devon told me it’s a lot more laid-back than (Peninsula Athletic League) and (Central Coast Section) meets, which is a plus if you are a nervous runner,” Hines said.
Frank Lima, another Half Moon Bay graduate and two-time All-American at Whitworth University, is a regular participant at the meet. He’s been going there for years.
In the last few years, Smith, along with his younger brother Tanner and parents, made the trek down. Brothers Chris and Steve Jacobson went to a few meets this year as well, partly to experiment. But they mainly went for the fun.
“You get to try some stuff you have never done before,” Chris Jacobson said. “You can also practice for events you might want to do in the future. I’ve been doing the 800 for most of my track career.”
After qualifying for the CCS meet in his junior year, Devon Smith started attending all-comer meets last summer. All he and the other participants had to do was show up, pay the $7 participant fee and sign up for the events.
Spectators pay $2 admission.
Getting experience is part of the reason for participating in the meets. Tanner Smith, a soon-to-be junior at Half Moon Bay, used the meets as a way of helping to decide if he wants to go out for track next year or stay with the tennis team.
“I figured, since my whole family goes every time, I thought I would try it,” he said. “You can do whatever you want and no one really cares if you do bad.”
This summer’s experience didn’t help with his decision. If he were to go out for track, he would do the high jump and 300 hurdles. He’s still pondering his options.
“I have a bunch of friends on the tennis team,” Smith said.
The summer all-comer season ended Thursday night. Those who came this year are thinking about next year’s meets.
“There are a lot of people of all different age groups and speeds,” said Chris Jacobson.