Fayetteville high school students hold fundraiser to upgrade dirt running track

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Fayetteville high school cross country and track team are in need of a new track. Many of the team members are hoping to make state championships in their division but are forced to train somewhere else because all they have is a dirt ring.

Students at Westover High School are planning a fundraiser in hopes of raising enough money to lay down a new track. And what better way to do that, than to hold a run?

Most gym students will look for any reason not to run the mandatory mile, but at Westover High School, the faculty said they don't have to look very far.

"We've not been able to effectively use this track since last spring," said Col. Eli Ballard, Cross Country Coach/JROTC Teacher.

When it's dry, the running track is simply a dirt path but when it rains, it's poor running conditions for both cross country and track team members.

"There are so many puddles and they have to slow down in the curb to keep from hurting themselves," said Ballard.

A track like Westover's hurts athletes in more ways than one.

"Some days we have to go to Reid Ross just to make sure we can work on our blocks and starts and handoffs," said Delsin Burkhart.

Three-time track and field state championship qualifier Dajhon Prince runs on the baseball field to get his laps in.

"You gotta practice on a track because if we practice up there, we don't know how much we're running," said Prince.

But this slows down more than just the runners, the track changes the pace for everyone.

"The young ladies on the auxiliary and cheerleaders looked so great in their sequins and new shoes and we had to put some tarp on the end of the track so they can walk across the mud. Cheerleaders weren't even able to do their routines," said Ballard.

On the low end, a newly paved track would cost about $150,000, but the faculty wants to install a $200,000 rubber surface that students can run on, even in the rain.

Ballard came up with the idea for the Westover Spring Spirit 5K to make it happen.

"When we do get the new track I feel like it's going to be a lot of motivation," said Burkhart.


What: Westover Spring Spirit 5K

When: Saturday, April 6 from 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Where: 277 Bonanza Drive, Fayetteville, N.C., 28303

Cost: $25 per person

Team challenge: $160 for 8 members
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