CHARLESTOWN — The second annual Maddie Potts Fitness Challenge will take place on Saturday at Ninigret Park.
The challenge raises money for the Maddie Potts Foundation, established after the death of Maddie Potts, a popular Chariho student athlete who died on the soccer field during a game in September 2017. The event is intended to celebrate Maddie’s inclusive spirit as well as her athletic abilities.
Maddie’s father, Dan Potts, who is organizing the challenge with his wife, Stephanie, said the event had been moved from the University of Rhode Island to Ninigret Park, where Maddie had spent a lot of time playing soccer.
“She started playing there at 6 years old and played there right up until September when she passed away,” he said. “Everybody did their summer cup high school tournament playing there over the summer, so it’s just a natural fit. And Charlestown Parks and Rec and the Charlestown Town Council were very supportive. They waived all the fees for the event and really wanted to help the foundation.”
The challenge offers 11 workouts, and features clinics with well-known sports figures. Many of the workouts are new this year, Potts said.
“We picked up Beast Mode Soccer, and Dave Copeland Smith trains women on the women’s national soccer team that just won the World Cup,” he said. “It’s huge. He’s going to be there from 8 until 2 and he is just incredible when it comes to teaching athletes foot skills with soccer.”
Instructor John Ford of Manic Training of East Greenwich and Wakefield is also participating this year.
“John G. Ford has been incredible,” Potts said. "He’s working out all day with us.”
Andy Procopio of AMP Fit in East Greenwich will lead classes and Challenger Sports will hold a “Tiny Tykes” soccer clinic for children 2 to 8 years old.
The women’s lacrosse clinic is another new event this year.
“Jessica Scanapieco, head coach of women’s soccer at Johnson & Wales, couldn’t wait to jump in,” Potts said.
In addition to the workouts, disc golf will be offered at the park’s existing course and there will be bike races for different levels of riders.
Participants can choose from light to high-intensity workouts or relax with a yoga class. There will also be an adaptive obstacle course set up for people with physical challenges.
“When we say we have something for everybody, we really do have something for everybody,” Potts said.
Maddie’s story, and her leadership qualities, Potts said, are part of what draws people to the event.
"Her ability and willingness to include everybody,” he said. “That’s what made her such a great captain … She was about controlling the things that you could control, being fit, being prepared and being mentally strong, doing those things for the team so the team could play as a team and nobody was left out.”
The challenge will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Advance registration is closed but people can register for $40 when they arrive on Saturday. The new venue and promising weather have attracted many more participants than last year, 358 so far.
Some of the money raised will go to the foundation which awards scholarships to Chariho seniors each year and some will go to the Maddie Potts Chariho Field House project.
“We’re on track with our events to have $500,000 in the foundation by 2020,” Potts said. “That will allow us to continue to give out our $5,500 in scholarships yearly and then hopefully, we can break ground in 2020 on the 3,000-square-foot field house on campus.”