PREP SPORTS: GGF track teams like upgrades
The warm weather most of this spring isn't the only reason local track and field coaches and athletes are smiling. Both Grand Forks and East Grand Forks enter the high school season with significant upgrades to their facilities. At Cushman Field,...
The warm weather most of this spring isn't the only reason local track and field coaches and athletes are smiling.
Both Grand Forks and East Grand Forks enter the high school season with significant upgrades to their facilities.
At Cushman Field, a $1.9 million project resulted in a resurfaced track, infield artificial turf and new jumping and throwing areas. The Senior High field also was redone over the summer.
"There are a lot of smiles out there," Red River boys coach Bob Zimney said. "We compete on nice tracks all of the time. Fargo South, West Fargo, Davies, Concordia and NDSU ... all nice facilities. We now don't take a back seat."
A year ago, there wasn't a local facility capable of hosting large meets. Joining the then-outdated Grand Forks and East Grand Forks high school facilities, UND's Memorial Stadium hasn't been updated since prior to the 1997 flood.
"It's a state of the art track and turf," Red River girls coach Tracey Heisler said of the Cushman renovation. "It's an amazing facility if people get a chance to come and see it. You don't see a lot of high school facilities look that wonderful."
In East Grand Forks, the track was updated in time for the school to host the Minnesota Section 8A meet. To go along with track improvements, the long jump areas and pole vault pit saw improvements. The school's regular-season home meet is also expected to grow to 10-12 teams as area schools want to get accustomed to the surface for the section meet.
"It's a really nice surface," Senior High boys coach Kirk Misialek said.
Grand Forks will have four meets at home and Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg also will host a Class B meet at Cushman.
Central boys coach Sean Allan said the home meets should help the sport's exposure.
"It's nice to have some times to compete in front of family and friends," Allan said. "This team had to travel all the time last year and it makes for a lot of late nights."
The first home meet on the new track will be Friday in a dual between Red River and Central.
Like Allan, Zimney is looking forward to the increased exposure.
"You're going to get more parents and a few friends and classmates," Zimney said. "It's like anything else, the more people watching and cheering, it's going to be a positive for you."
Miller reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1121; (800) 477-6572, ext. 121; or send e-mail to email@example.com .