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Wetumpka will host the River Region Invitational Friday.

One of the largest outdoor track meets in central Alabama to date will be taking place in Wetumpka Friday.

Wetumpka High School will host the annual River Run Invitational at 11 a.m. at the Wetumpka Sports Complex and Stadium.

Wetumpka track and field coach Warren Brown said that 18 schools and over 400 athletes have registered to compete, including several fellow local schools such as Stanhope Elmore, Tallassee and Elmore County.

“We want everybody to come out and have a good time, enjoy the atmosphere,” Brown said.

Brown added that fans in attendance will be expected to follow Alabama’s state-wide mask mandate, and the teams and venue will be adhering to CDC guidelines in terms of precautions against COVID-19.

Also among the field of competitors will be two of Alabama’s top high school track programs, Prattville and Brewbaker Tech, Brown said.

Brewbaker Tech is highlighted by senior runner Chanice Spicer, who’s committed to run for Alabama in college.

The heightened skill level will be good for Wetumpka to see, Brown said.

“The competition level is high,” Brown said. “I want my kids to be pushed. And I really want them to set new marks. I’m looking for PRs this week out of all my groups and all my individuals and all my relay teams.”

A few Wetumpka athletes will be looking to set new meet records for the invitational, including triple jumper Jalen Johnson, who recently signed a letter of intent to compete for Lane College. Setting a new meet record would also improve on Johnson’s own school record of 43 feet, 8.5 inches.

Brown said there should be plenty of seating for spectators, but fans can bring their own lawn chairs to sit around the field if they so choose.

“This is a community event,” Brown said. “We’re very excited to host the River Region Invitational.”

Admission to the River Region Invitational will be $5. Field events will start at the meet start time of 11 a.m., with running events opening approximately 30 minutes afterward, Brown said.

Brown added Wetumpka is looking for volunteers to help host Friday’s meet and meets in the future. If you are interested in volunteering, contact coach Warren Brown at warren.brown@elmoreco.com.