Dixie track - provided
Sometimes making the most of what you've got isn't ideal, but it works.
Whether it be a makeshift track for sprinters and hurdlers or finding whatever works for distance runners, some track and field programs are finding ways to get the job done. The coaches feel that it's not because there's a lack of support from their respective districts. It sometimes just simply comes down to a lack of space on campus.
"One thing we fight a little bit is that there was once a track here, but the grass has been allowed to grow over it," Dixie coach Warren Hammond said. "We do have the loop to use, but on one end the trees are hanging over it and the grass doesn't grow there. When it rains it turns into a swamp, and we can't use it."
Hammond said that the school and athletic director has been supportive and that all but one of the spring sports teams, including his girls track and field team, won region championships. The school booster club also purchased the team a jumping pit, but it is still in need of a pad.
Hammond and his wife have also gotten out and painted running lanes in the grass on campus for his sprinters to use during practice. He added that there are no home meets, and the team does not travel more than an hour away to compete. It is generally limited to one meet a week.
"I think we would get more kids out if they could see what the events look like. I think the interest is there. It's just the funding." - Dixie coach Warren Hammond
"Space is hard to come by," he said. "It's mostly utilized. We have a place to practice the discus but basically nowhere really for the javelin. There's nowhere for our pole vaulters. One practices at Belton-Honea Path and the other takes lessons. Most of the time they really don't get to pole vault until the meets. There are also some streets two blocks away from the school that are not used for traffic that our distance runners can run on."
Other programs previously experienced a few hardships but have come into brighter days. Wade Hampton-Hampton was one of them.
"We've always had a track," Red Devils coach Rob Hanna said. "We had a six-lane asphalt track, and it was hard to get teams to come to our meets because they didn't want to run on it. After Covid, we got a brand new six-lane rubber track and got more participation from larger schools in 3A and 4A to come to our meets. Our facilities are good."
Hanna said that neighboring Estill High School does not have a track of its own and brings its team to practice at Wade Hampton's facility. The two schools will merge to form the new 2A Hampton County High School in the 2023-24 calendar year.
At Dixie, Hammond said that participation has been good for the boys and girls track teams, but he thinks more would come out if conditions were better.
"I think we would get more kids out if they could see what the events look like," he said. "I think the interest is there. It's just the funding."