Track Set to be Redone

Junior Claudia Hammond has been on the track and field team since her freshman year. Yet, she has never been to a meet hosted at Hockaday.

The school can only host Middle School meets because the track does not meet high school requirements. So, last May, she and junior Olivia Whittaker, also on the track and field team, submitted a petition to the Athletic De­partment asking to resurface the track.

They received 200 signa­tures from Upper School stu­dents. The administration had not responded. Until now.

Coach Tina Slinker con­firmed that the track will be resurfaced before the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

Hockaday’s track was re­surfaced more than 10 years ago, but since then many cracks have appeared in the cushion. The uneven terrain can lead to stress fractures and shin splints. According to Track and Field and Cross Country Coach Laboris Bean, 20 percent of his girls last year were benched because of these types of injuries.

“We realized that the in­juries we kept getting weren’t caused by the type of training, but the track itself,” Whittak­er said.

Hammond does not prac­tice on Hockaday’s track be­cause of the potential health consequences. “It hurts my knees to run on it and I have to practice outside of Hockaday, which makes me feel like I’m not a part of the team as much as I would like,” she said.

“Education is always Hock­aday’s number one priority, which is great, but athletics creates an outlet for stress for our girls which is also very im­portant,” Bean said.

Last spring, Chief Finan­cial Officer J.T. Coats was ap­proached by Slinker about the issues with the current track.

Coats said that the track will be resurfaced, not re­built. Rebuilding it is a much bigger capital project. “It’s kind of in this pile of things we want to do, but right now our focus is on the campaign priority, which is set by the Board of Trustees.”

But Coats is aware of the importance of having a safe track. “We want to definitely maintain the track. The new resurfacing is going to make a huge difference, and I really wish we could fit it in during a break, but we couldn’t fit it in the schedule,” she said.

– Claire Fletcher