New field turf necessitates reconstruction of track


art by Elena Franck

Josh Ripley

art by Elena Franck
art by Elena Franck
Recently Columbia Public Schools announced that they would replace the playing surface at Wayne Sells Field at RBHS. FieldTurf, the type on Sells Field, was found to be defective around the time RBHS installed theirs.
While I’m always in favor of upgrading facilities to ensure we have the best available for our athletes, the new turf announcement only brings more attention in my mind to the poor and continually deteriorating condition of the track that encircles the field.
During the last few years, CPS has made massive overhauls and improvements with their athletic facilities, including a new indoor baseball training center at RBHS, new turf at Hickman High School and new gyms at both schools. Throughout all these changes and upgrades, CPS has continually ignored the most glaring eyesore within the three high schools. The track is nothing short of embarrassing.
While we only host one track meet a year, the small RBHS Invitational, that does not excuse the lack of action by CPS in upgrading the primary training facility for some of the most successful athletes at RBHS over the past few years.
In addition to its unsightly appearance, the track is worn down and hard, making it less than ideal to run on. It is mostly the standard reddish brown, although there are also blotches of green mixed in, making it painfully clear that it was poorly resurfaced and the new layer is already breaking down.
As a member of the track and field team, I am impressed with the facilities of other schools across the state. Everywhere we go for meets, from Jefferson City to Kirkwood to Camdenton, the track is always in tip-top condition and looks brand new.
Though it is necessary for a new track to be installed, the new turf is a good decision. I’ve seen what happens to Fieldturf when it reaches a certain age, and it definitely becomes an injury risk. In 2011, The University of Missouri-Columbia was in a similar predicament. That year was filled with constant complaints about the slickness and lack of traction on Faurot Field, which culminated when star running back, Henry Josey, among others went down with a major injury on the aging playing surface.
The safety of the athletes should be the top priority at RBHS, and it’s encouraging to see the administration taking steps to ensure that is the case. However, the track is still well below the standards set by other MSHSAA Class 4 schools.
The track is one of the last things that clearly remains on the to do list. Still it has yet to be done and it has been in poor condition for quite a while.
A new track is a necessary addition for athletes who devote their time, day after day, for the students who use it to pick up a P.E. credit and for the community that puts so much into our school.
By Josh Ripley