XENIA — Those days of borrowing other school’s facilities are long gone. Xenia Community Schools and Xenia High School now has one of the finest track and field venues around.
As part of the community’s Neighborhood Night Out festivities, school and school board officials gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new all-weather track, July 12 at Doug Adams Stadium.
Current XCS Superintendent Denny Morrison couldn’t help but take a playful jab at the naysayers who said a top-class track and field facility couldn’t be built within the tighter-than-normal confines of Doug Adams Stadium.
“When we put the turf in a couple years ago, we had an awful lot of people say ‘You know, we didn’t think this would ever happen.’ … As soon as we got the turf in, we started talking about our track program. The fact that we don’t have a track. The fact that we can’t have any home track meets, because we don’t have our own track. Some of our athletes had to go to neighboring school districts to practice, because we didn’t have a place for them to practice in the field events.
“The point is, everybody was doubters. They said ‘You know what? You’re not going to be able to put a track in, because the track doesn’t fit if you’re going to run it between the two grandstands. There’s one person who said that it can be done, and that it will be done. You know I’m talking about (School District Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations) Christy Fielding.
“She helped with the design, she worked with the architectural engineers … The community now has a place that they can be proud of,” Morrison said.
The design architects with Massillon-based Vasco Sports Contractors had to utilize a tighter turn radius at each end of the track in order to fit the eight-lane track between the home and visitor grand stands. The track is lined to host both high school and college events.
“One lap around is still 400-meters. That’s all that matters,” Xenia High School coach Matt Bartley said. “It’s going to be good for our kids, especially with how this facility is laid out. We can pole vault in both directions, we can long jump in both directions, and the shot and discus areas are just beside the stadium within earshot of everything else.”
Fielding said the creation of the track and field facility will change the lives of the schools’ athletes.
“This will be terrific for our students, for the fact that they’ll have their own facility that they can compete on. And they can better prepare themselves for the (Greater Western Ohio Conference) competitions that they’ll be seeing. I’m real excited for our kids. Being a track athlete myself, I’ve wanted a new track since I started here six years ago, and today we’ve accomplished that,” she said.
According to Fielding, the track and field facility cost $693,375 with all of the funds paid from the school district’s general fund.
The Xenia High cheerleaders were on hand to help celebrate the track’s opening. Two members of the squad are also track team competitors, and so they were extra excited about having their own facility.
“It gives us somewhere to be proud of for track. It gives us a very nice place to practice, too,” said senior Rachel Wilson.
“As a track athlete, I’m proud that we can actually host our own events now,” added sophomore Alyssia Echols. “It’s going to be exciting to be able to have our own track meets here.”
XHS Athletic Director Nathan Kopp said the new facility will host the annual Greene County Invitational high school track and field meet in the Spring of 2018. Previously held at Fairborn and Greeneview high schools, the third annual event will bring area high school teams from throughout the county to compete on Xenia’s new state-of-the art facility.
“We also hope to start an appropriately named Doug Adams Invitational this coming season, and we look to add a couple Middle School meets as well. This track will get a lot of use, and it’s going to really go a long way for the community,” he said.
Longtime Ohio High School Athletic Association official Steve Hurley, of Xenia, said the field event facilities — with dual event areas for the long jump and pole vault, and an extra spacious zone for high jump competitions — are among the best he’s seen in the state. Hurley ran for Xenia coach Bill Wilson from 1968-‘70, when XHS had a cinder track.
“This is a beautiful facility that Xenia can be very proud of,” he added. “They’ve come a long way.”
Morrison, who will step down as the district’s superintendent in about two weeks, was proud of the district’s accomplishment and happy to know that the facility will affect the Xenia community in a very positive way.
“It’s a great day for Xenia, a great day for Xenia Community Schools, and it’s really an extra special day for the students, staff members and the residents of Xenia,” he said. “It proves that dreams really do come true.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.