May 2019 - Setting up cones in a grass field to simulate the lane on a track isn’t the best way to practice relay handoffs. But that’s exactly what Arlington ISD junior high track athletes did every year – until this year.
“It was extremely difficult to prepare for track meets without a real track,” said Jesse Gruber, Boles Junior High teacher, athletic coordinator and coach.
But now, thanks to the 2014 Bond program, Bailey, Barnett, Boles, Gunn, Nichols, Shackelford and Young junior highs all have brand new tracks.
We love the new track here at Boles!” Gruber said.
At Bailey, Rhonda Onley, the school’s athletic coordinator, feels the same way.
“The track has made a huge difference for our students and athletes,” Onley said. “Sprinters can practice coming out of the starting blocks with a starting line and lanes. Hurdlers are able to train on the track instead of hurdling on the grass. And the exchange zones on the track have helped tremendously in teaching and practicing handoffs for the relays.”
It's worth noting that all of Bailey’s 7th- and 8th-grade boys and girls 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1600-meter relay teams qualified for finals at this year's City Track Meet.
But it’s not just track athletes that benefit from the new facilities.
“Our athletics classes and P.E. classes use the track for training and improving cardiovascular endurance,” Onley said.
“We use the track every day to run our traditional 500 meters in athletics,” Gruber said.
The four-lane tracks at each school are all-weather, with surfaces comprised of a bottom layer of polyurethane-bound rubber granules topped with a spray-applied coat of polyurethane and rubber granules. Along with the tracks, the sports fields inside the tracks were improved.
At Carter Junior High, the site is small, and a track would not fit, so the athletic field was redone with a better surface, improved drainage and new goals. Carter also received a new concrete athletic court.
Ousley Junior High received its new track earlier in the bond program in 2016. Workman Junior High also received a new synthetic surface on its existing track, but that project was not funded by the bond program.