Local Coaches want Rubberized Track for Students

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DOTHAN, AL---It's something Joseph Rojas runs on almost every week and it's raising a concern for track students in the circle city.

"It can be hard on you running especially if you fall by mistake it can hurt really bad," said Northview High School track runner Joseph Rojas.

Students at both Northview and Dothan High are running on asphalt tracks.

"We're still running on asphalt which is basically from 1974, most schools don't run on asphalt anymore," said Northview Track Coach Jocquette Carroll.

Coaches say it's time to upgrade and add at least one rubberized track in the city.

At Providence Christian School the track is no better, the coach said he had to put up a sign to warn drivers to look out for his students while they're practicing.

"This is all we have to train on and we're competing against schools that have any number of track facilities," said Coach Nicholas Ireland.

Students say running on the dirt and gravel isn't always pretty.

"You get chin splints a lot which puts you out for a week or two and they're very very painful and it hurts to even walk around school," said Providence Christian School track runner Caroline Wells.

"I've fallen on this gravel a lot and I've gotten scraped up and stuff," said Providence Christian track runner Hunter Holmes.

Not only is the pain a concern but, coach ireland says the jumpers and throwers who run in relays don't get the training they need.

"They never get to practice that ever because there's no track in town that has the right size exchange zones and the right markings they're going to see on a competition track," said Coach Ireland.

"We've been running out here on this dirt track and when we show up to meets we feel a little bit like the underdogs because we don't have as much of an advantage," said Holmes.

Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz says in order to get the ball rolling, the plan has to go through the proper chain of command.

"Number one go before the school board because they really dictate all of the athletics activities for the schools and then go to the REC board which is a board made up of volunteers that really help decide what priorities we have," said Schmitz.

He says the next step would be approval by city commissioners and funding.

Coaches say the closest rubberized track they have to practice on is in Troy.

Traveling back and forth adds up and takes up practice time for students.

Coach Carroll says he has spoken with Dothan recreation department officials and plans to make a presentation at their next meeting.

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