Indian River High School athletes look forward to repaved track

Imagine stepping up to the starting line for an important race. It’s the 100-meter dash, so every millisecond counts. You see the finish line, you visualize the win, and you lean down into the starting position.

This is not the time to be worrying about holes in the asphalt. But that’s what runners have been dealing with at Indian River High School. Home and visiting athletes have long noticed the divot marks.

At last, though, the track-and-field team can look forward to a new running track this year. The school board recently approved a resurfacing project at a cost of $215,000.

This is no trivial expense, but “It is badly needed,” said athletic director Todd Fuhrmann. “It’s used by the community, it’s used by our athletes. … Pretty much every one of our teams at some point is on that track throughout the year.”

“The track right now has a bunch of holes. It’s all torn up, especially around the start/finish lines,” said coach Bob Hahn. “Athletes from our school, from other schools, have requested to switch lanes because of how poor the start line is, torn up.”

“It’s not the conducive thing for when you have a track meet,” Fuhrmann said. “Some races, we might not be able to use a lane for equal starting opportunities. They have to have a full track.”

New paving will give athletes cushion for a better run. Plus, there’s pep and pride that comes from having a good, new competition zone.

Just like the installation of Bermuda grass on several fields, a new track will provide a solid venue for athletes to perform at their best, Hahn said.

The track is 14 years old, opening with the new IRHS building in 2005. Just like a roadway, the painted lines can fade, and the top layer of asphalt can crumble. Rain and ice can seep into the holes and cause more erosion.

The project is very weather-dependent, but the American Athletic Track & Turf company could knock it out in mid-November.

The Sussex Central High School track was resurfaced this summer, for $225,000. Both projects were bid out together, with IR as an addendum that would be delayed until the funding was in place. The IRSD and the vendor negotiated a $10,000 discount to bundle the project.

“Thank you to the school board for being able to do that for us,” Fuhrmann said. “It’s really going to be benefit our athletes … make us better and give the kids a good reason to really want to perform.”

By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter