New Track & Field
On a day where the weather seemed like the middle of the track and field season, numerous spectators came out to attend the ribbon cutting ceremonies for the new track and field facility at 223 E. Pierce.
The facility features a 400-meter oval track with a state-of-the-art electronic timing system, a discus/hammer throwing area, two long jump pits, two pole vault and javelin areas, a place for the high jump, and a field that can be used for soccer or football games in the future. It also has bleacher seating for 250 spectators, along with a concession stand, restrooms, and a storage space for the track and field equipment. “This facility is part of the reason I came here,” head track/cross country coach Mark Phillips said. “This is such a wonderful facility, it is one of the nicest facilities in the Midwest. All of the recruits we have brought in have been very impressed by it.”
Building of the facility began in July 2002 and was virtually completed in January of this year. This past spring, both the men’s and women’s track teams took full advantage of the facility, capturing Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division outdoor titles. Both teams also finished in the top 20 at the national meet. Pretty impressive considering the revived program is in only its second season. Cowley athletic director Tom Saia is thrilled to have such an impressive facility for the Tiger athletes to train and compete on. “The big thing is we have got a board of trustees that believes in a vision with athletics and activities,” Saia said. “And you can’t beat having a president like Dr. (Pat) McAtee. He only does things one way, he does them first class. This is a beautiful facility that the people of Cowley County can really be proud of.”
The facility will get put to good use as Cowley will host the Tiger Invitational on March 19, and the Jayhawk Conference/Region VI Championships on April 22, 23 and 24. Also next summer, the annual Relay for Life will be held at the facility. “Once people get a chance to run on the track, they will want to come back,” Phillips said.