With spring finally in the air after a seemingly neverending winter, the University of Maine is hosting a kickball tournament later this week.

The tournament, which was open to the entire UMaine student body, is scheduled for Thursday, with opening rounds to kick off at 4 p.m.

The event is being put together by UMaine’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee, of which track and field athlete Jillian Lary is the president.

Teams composed of nine to 12 people will play games scheduled to take place on UMaine’s athletic fields.

The purpose of the tournament is to raise awareness of mental health issues among people ages 18 to 24 while raising money for UMaine’s athletic department.

The cost is $5 per individual and teams must have at least four men and four women.

“A lot of people prefer to do something sporting over any other type of fundraiser,” said Lary, pointing out that players will have a chance to enjoy some early spring fresh air while getting in some recreation time.

One in four adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have a diagnosable mental illness and 75 percent of lifetime cases of mental health conditions begin by age 24.

Lary, a native of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, is a discus, hammer and weight thrower on UMaine’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams. She said every team that signs up will have an opportunity to play at least two games.

The tournament will be played on Morse Field in Alfond Stadium and will last into the evening on Thursday.

Lary said as of Monday afternoon four teams have registered, and teams will have until Tuesday to sign up.

She added she’s hoping to get between six and eight teams.

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Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports freelancer Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins.