Hunter Meckes tournament raises $8,000 for scholarships
Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Members of the Hunter Meckes Soccer Tournament are, from left, Louis Smith, Sherry Smith, Lesley Meckes, Dave Meckes, Shane Meckes, Sherry Meckes, Hayden Meckes, Dawson Meckes, Dawn Lawler, J.D. Light and Trisha Higgins.
Several hundred youths ages 7 to high school age played in the Hunter Meckes Memorial Soccer Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Lehighton Area High School to memorialize a young boy who lost his life on Jan 27, 2003.
Hunter Meckes was 5 years old when he died in a car accident. He loved to play soccer and wrestle and his mother, Sherry Meckes of Penn Forest Township vowed that her son would never be forgotten. She initiated the annual soccer tournament in her son's name to establish a scholarship that would be presented to deserving seniors at Jim Thorpe Area High School and Lehighton Area High School at their awards assembly.
The game is always played in April which is the month that Hunter celebrated his birthday. Hunter would have turned 14 years old on Saturday, April 16.
In all 36 teams were fielded in games that took place throughout the day. The players played two games versus the normal three to have less impact on the muddy fields. On the day before the event more than two inches of rain fell in the Lehighton area.
The unseasonably cool temperatures didn't deter the players who all came out to remember Hunter and be the player he wanted to be. The youngsters ran and kicked and bumped the ball into the net.
Meckes coordinates the event with the Lehighton Area Soccer Club.
"We have soccer players from as far away as Mechanicsburg and have several teams from Allentown and Stroudsburg," said Meckes. There were high school teams from Lehighton, Tamaqua and Jim Thorpe, plus two Carbon United teams playing at the event.
Meckes will present two scholarships to a graduating boy and girl in Jim Thorpe High School who is a good student and a soccer player and at Lehighton Area High School, a soccer player and a wrestler will be selected.
Hunter's brothers were all at the event, including Shane Hunter, who is 11 years old. The two younger brothers Hayden, 4, and Dawson, 5, were also at the event.
The event raised approximately $8,000 toward the scholarship fund.