BHS track teams to host home meets

BHS Track & Field teams will host home meets after receiving many new pieces of equipment and renovations.



Starting Blocks at Vacant Starting Line Before Event

Alex Keely, Staff Writer

After two seasons without a home meet, BHS Track & Field will host three home meets because of $10,000 in new equipment and renovations for the 2016 season.

For two years in a row, the BHS outdoor track teams have been unable to host home meets because of not having enough equipment that met track federation standards. BHS Athletic Director Dennis Walton explains the new changes coming this spring.

“There will be $10,000 worth of new equipment,” said Walton. “One of the big things is a new discus cage that goes around the discus circle because we have had the one out there for many, many years and it doesn’t meet the safety regulations anymore.”

The new cage and ring will provide more than just an equal playing surface for the throwers. Senior track and field captain Carson Neumann believes safety is the biggest change with the new equipment.

“The new discus cage is more of a safety factor than anything else,” said Neumann. “With the old cage, a discus was capable of landing on the track potentially harming a runner. The new rings and cages will help make the field official.”

Not only will the discus cage be redone, but the shot put pit and jumping pits will face major upgrades.

“The shot put pit is going to be extended because some kids could actually throw it over the pit now,” said Walton. “The triple and long jump pits are going to be worked on, and the runways are going to be resurfaced.”

The quality of equipment has decreased over the years. Junior Bradley Laverriere believes the new equipment will increase the abilities of the track teams.

“The quality of the equipment before was crappy. It definitely could have been better and could of been better quality rather than breaking down over the years,” said Laverriere. “The new equipment was needed because it benefits the team. Practices will be smoother, and the meets will have better results.”

Another new change to the track equipment will be the addition of 60 new hurdles which will allow for all lanes of the track to be used in the hurdle events. Sophomore Jack Delprete considers the new hurdles a major upgrade.

“Having more hurdles will help not just the team, but the meets because the more hurdles- the more hurdlers in one heat,” said Delprete. “Last year, we had quite a few heats of hurdles because we didn’t have many. This year, we will have less heats and the time of the meet takes to end will be shorter.”

Dennis Walton
Dennis Walton

The reason why it took so long for these changes to happen is because of the cost. Walton needed back up from Superintendent Jeremy Ray in order to make the money available for the project.

It’s just $10,000. My entire athletic supplies budget is in between the lines of 17 and 20 thousand dollars per year and that’s for 26 programs. Basically what I needed was the support from the superintendent who said this needs to get done. He made that a priority, and I think that’s what got it done.

— Dennis Walton

Over the past two seasons, the coaches and Walton have discussed having a home meet, but they have decided it wasn’t a good idea for the athletes to compete with the equipment the school had.

“It was a better experience for our track athletes to go somewhere else even though we are giving up a home meet,” said Walton. “It’s a better experience for them to go somewhere else then to try and host one here under the circumstances. A great example would be the pole vault, we didn’t have a necessary safety feature that the national federation came out with, and we just got it.”

Not having home meets is very difficult for some of the athletes ,such as senior thrower Jade Burnham, who feels that home field advantage is a big factor for throwers.

“A home meet is different from an away meet because with a home meet those areas are where you practice, so you’re used to them, and know how to work with them,” said Burnham. “Whereas in an away meet you’re not used to throwing in those areas, so you’re a little more nervous and it can make your throwing off.”

For boys outdoor track coach Ron Ouellette, there were only a few problems that led to these changes on a major scale.

“The improvements on the track are for two reasons: safety of the athletes and the ability to host home meets,” Ouellette said.

Competing at home is a big thing for most sports and players while having the mental improvement of competing in front of family and friends is the most comfortable place to compete.

“Not having home meets was not the best because not everyone had to go through it,” said Laverriere. “It just wasn’t fair for us. It is important to have a home meet to me because there is more support because of the fact you are competing where you live.”

The timetable for the completion of the project is unknown. At this point with mother nature bringing wet and wild weather the field isn’t dry enough for work to be completed.

“We are walking it [the track field area] every day. We are just waiting for the ground to be hard enough that we can bring heavy equipment on there to do stuff like digging for the pits,” said Walton. “The goal is to make sure that everything is done before our first home meet.”

When it all comes to a close, having a home meet in your final season as a high school athlete will have a lasting effect on the athletes.

“It sucks that the seniors last year didn’t have the privilege that we will this year, but it is important to have a home meet because track is my favorite sport,” said Neumann. “I look forward to every practice and meet, so being able to have a full proper meet at home for the first time since I joined will be incredible.”