It’s been nearly a full year since the official beginning of renovation for the track facility at Ralph DeSantis Field. Bethel High School has been carefully utilizing the new track since its opening ceremony in November. Specifically, the spring boys and girls track teams have been working hard and winning thanks to the impressive provisions.
The mastermind and benefactor behind this million-dollar project is BHS boys track coach Yvonne Grimes. Coach Grimes and her family offered to renovate the original six-lane track set down in 1986 and make it into a full fledge, eight-lane track complete with track house and renovated area for throwers across the street at Berry School. Along with the track, there is a new shot put area and the areas for pole vault, long jump, triple jump, and high jump have been resurfaced with the actual track lane. Plus, the track house is not just for track. The lower level of the house is a large storage area that can be used by all of the BHS sports team for extra storage space.
Coach Grimes says, “This new track gives our team a lot of pride and a real sense of ownership.” She hopes that this facility will help both teams to “compete on a higher level.”
And she is not alone. Girls track coach Chris Ciparelli says, “Everything is much more efficient and the eight lanes help to host dual and tri team meets.” Most importantly, the new synthetic material that has been set down on the track is not as worn and cracked as it has been in the past. According to Coach Ciparelli, “We haven’t had nearly as much lower leg injuries or shin splits as we had to deal with last year.” This is due to the fact that the new material still has bounce in it and it gives with a runner’s foot, preventing serious injury. In addition, the new surface allows SWC meets to take place at BHS without any possibility of complaints from other schools about Bethel lacking in a sufficient facility.
Students have been grateful for the new facility as well. Senior captain of the Girls Track team, Nicola Gallagher, says, “It is really amazing that we have the opportunity to use this track. Our team has benefited so much from having a great place to practice and compete.”
Teammate Julianna Suske says the team practices together a lot more and, “we each have enough space to do our own thing.” Suske, a sophomore, adds that the track house is a great asset. “It’s better that we have our own house instead of meeting up in front of the snack shed.” Now both track teams have a new place to race that they can be proud of and call their own.
This track is the best thing for our BHS track teams and the school as a whole. Hopefully, this new development will inspire future track stars and a better appreciation for track and field. In the words of Coach Grimes, “This is the way it is supposed to be.”