Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Runners hit by pellets during Valley League race

About a half-dozen girls running in the junior varsity cross country race were struck by what were believed to be airsoft pellets during the Valley League district meet Saturday afternoon at Albany’s Bryant Park, according to Jason Platt, South Albany High School’s athletic director.

None of the girls was seriously injured.

Albany Police responded to the call at 2:54 p.m.

“Several of the girls in the JV race said they felt something like a sting on their arms or legs after the race was over. The girls had little marks — like a little welt — but no skin was broken,” Platt said.

“Pretty soon, we put two and two together and we decided to go out onto the course to look for anyone who might have thrown or been shooting something. We just wanted to make sure the kids were safe.”

All of the girls finished the race, and those who were shot, were apparently selected at random, not by a specific team.

Joanne Deming of Albany said one of the pellets grazed her granddaughter’s lip. “She said it felt like a BB hit her,” Deming said.

The meet was held up for about an hour as police, team coaches, school athletic directors and parents scoured the course, especially a small wooded area where someone could have hidden. They found nothing.

The junior varsity boys race remained to be run, Platt said. Coaches and athletic directors agreed the meet should be completed if the course could be secured.

School officials and parents fanned out across the course and the race was run without incident.

Platt said there were no individual suspects as of this morning.

Alex Paul can be reached at 812-6076 or alex.paul@lee.net.

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