Proper markings could have made the difference between first and second place

Proper markings could have made the difference between first and second place

To the editor:

This is an open letter to the school board: You will be pleased to know that Alexandria City Public Schools students performed well at the Hershey Track and Field Games on June 22.

The 4×100 team from Mount Vernon Recreation Center was barely edged out for first place. The team from Charles Houston Recreation Center finished in third place. And an Alexandria student took first place in the long jump. They all should be commended.

But it’s what happened before the race that is the purpose of this letter. Days prior to the race, the athletes looked for a place to practice. They went to the George Washington Middle School track and — faced with appalling conditions — were unable to practice there. They went to T.C. Williams, only to find the school was hosting a large function that left the parking lot full.

They then went to Francis Hammond Middle School, which is the only other location in the entire city with a running track. While the track was in excellent condition, a lack of regulation markings prevented them from practicing the baton handoff crucial to a relay race.

Nonetheless, they made do with what they had and went on to proudly represent themselves and the city. Would a properly marked running track have been able to make up the less than one-second difference between the winner and second place?

We will never know, but hopefully future track athletes will not have to ask and the running track at Francis Hammond will receive the regulation markings it needs and deserves.

– Gary Carr