The Aberdeen Roncalli track and field program has had it all through the years: conference championships, region championships, state championships, but it was also lacking one thing, a place to call home.
Now, thanks to the generosity of others, the Cavaliers have an opportunity to practice without ever leaving campus.
“I could say this a million times and mean it a million times when I walk out here I just think of what a blessing it is,” said Roncalli track and field coach Mark Stone of the new complex, “because for so long, like a lot of schools do, we just made do. We did the best we could.”
That meant for years jumping into vehicles and heading out to old Swisher Field for practice.
Members will no longer need to do that. In addition to safety from no longer having to travel, the new facility will be beneficial in so many ways, according to Stone.
“To have this here, to able to start in the gymnasium every day with a school prayer, to be able come out this door and still have our school and what our needs are, maybe it’s a trainer, maybe that’s a restroom, maybe that’s a drinking fountain, maybe it’s the sweatshirt that you didn’t grab in your locker and it’s cooler out than you thought, to just be right here is such a blessing,” he said.
The facility features two of everything from jumping pits to throwing areas. The track will feature eight lanes on the front stretch and four on the back. In short, it will be an ideal practice facility.
“For us it’s a huge gift,” Stone said. “For many schools this would be considered pretty ordinary because of what they have, but for us it’s a huge gift. We’re so thankful and grateful and excited about it.”
The school reached out to a number of former athletes and alumni. Stone estimated the cost of the entire project to be more than $300,000.
“It takes a lot of people and a lot of money to get to this point,” Stone said. “There will never be a day that passes by me without the recognition of the generosity and the gift that it is.”
The facility became a huge priority when the old Swisher Field track was demolished because of a new softball complex in that area. That left Roncalli and also Aberdeen Christian without a place to go.
Aberdeen Christian, which has a cooperative with Roncalli in football, tennis and girls’ golf, is welcome to use the track and field complex whenever they want, Stone said.
“We’ve extended an invitation to them. In fact, they participated in the project. They gave a donation to the project as well,” Stone said. “They’re welcome here anytime. We want to be able to share that with them, too.”
Asphalt was put down on Friday and plans call for the final touches, like lane striping, to be done soon.
Stone said the complex has everything the athletes need.
“We have everything. We’re able to serve all of our field events. We’re able to serve our track events,” Stone said. “Once this is in, we’ll be able to serve everybody on our squad no matter their event, no matter what they choose.”
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