Feet pound on the dull red surface, heat radiating from the contrasting green turf just to the edge of the track. Runners blur by, panting heavily, arms pumping, legs moving ever faster. Each person sees the faded white lines, just a few meters ahead, marking the spot where they can stop running, rest for a few minutes, and continue again. But next year, these runners will not have a spot to stop running. In fact, they will not even have a place to start.
Before the 2018-2019 school year starts, the track and field team should know exactly where they are going to be practicing next year. There are plenty of viable options nearby, but we should choose our location as soon as possible.
With the H1 project starting next year, the track will disappear for all of the spring sports teams. The plan is to rip up Witter Field in order to replace the drainage system, which has been causing flooding and other problems for years. However, the renovations for the field are scheduled to start at the very beginning of the spring sport season, and finish just before the start of football season. While football produces the most revenue for Piedmont Athletics, only one sports team needs the track in order to function fully and properly. For the lacrosse teams, there is an abundance of nearby fields that the teams can choose from for next year, and these options allow a sense of security for their athletes. Track and field is the only sport that explicitly needs the track in order to practice and race and is the only sport that uses both the field and the track at the same time. Even though we do not have an athletic director, it should be included in the H1 plan where each team is going to practice and host meets and games. However, the track and field team does not yet have an alternative option for the 2019 season.
The seniors will miss out on the memories from their final season at Piedmont, not running on the same track that has been around for as long as they can remember. But they are not the only ones who will miss out on something next year. Junior year is a critical season for those athletes who need times to begin the recruiting process. Even if we will not have a track for the vast majority of the season, we could have a home meet if the construction date were moved back by one week. This would provide seniors with an opportunity to race on Witter Field for one last time and would also allow juniors to try for times on their own track. In addition, both of the lacrosse teams would then have the opportunity to host a home game, giving their seniors their own night as well. While I am aware that we cannot change the fact that we will not have a track next year, I think we should have already been provided with a plan, including a viable location for a practice field at this point in time.
Oakland Tech, Bishop O’Dowd, Skyline High School, and Merritt College are all viable solutions. Students need to be assured that they will have a practice location for next year. If we have to move, at least give us a home meet and a definite location.