Newly Refinished MHS Track
Colton Ihler on his home track.
The MHS track team always looks forward to the beginning of a new season, but this year brings something to look forward to that they haven’t had for years. For the first time in nearly five years, the Dragon track team will have the opportunity to host a track meet on their own turf to compete in front of their local family and friends.
The high school has been in need of a new track for years, last being used for the district meet in May of 2018. The discussion of refinishing the track finally gained traction when Colton Ihler decided to take it up for his senior project. Now Elder Ihler, currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Columbia, shared, “When it came time to choose a senior project I didn't want to do any old project just to make something cool, but I wanted to do something that would have more of a community affect.
“So as I thought I realized that for my favorite sport/hobby/lifestyle we were missing something very crucial, and this was a functioning track to run on and compete on. Track was my favorite sport all through middle school and high school, and it always killed me that we could never hold a home meet in front of our friends, community, and family. All our hard work was put in there, but could never show it. So I decided that nothing would be better than replacing the track so the younger generation could have it!”
Taking on a project that it seemed no one else would, Ihler went to work making his dream a reality. It began simply by helping the school administration see that first a new track was badly needed. Ihler admitted that this was the most challenging part of the project, helping people to see that MHS not only needed a new track, but that something could actually be done about it. Next, Ihler did the legwork to see what it would really take to refinish the track- who would need to be contacted, what the time frame might be and what it would cost.
Once Superintendent John Abrams was on board, Ihler was able to make some real progress, especially when it came to finding funding for such a big project. Ihler said, “Mr. Abrams did such an awesome job in this phase. We worked with different local companies to look for donations and grants. Our local Hess Pumice was a great help in this aspect!”
With the refinish work contracted and funding in place, it became a waiting game for the day the track would finally be put in. Elder Ihler left on his mission before the track could be completed. When the day finally came that the track was done, Ihler was flooded with pictures of the final product from friends and family. He said, “Being away on my mission and not seeing it in person is definitely a bummer, but seeing that it is done and knowing that the MHS track team will have a home meet this year is so awesome!!”
He continued, “I’m just so grateful for the community members that helped out on this project. It was something that seemed impossible in so many eyes, but I learned with hard work, we can always reach a goal that we have! Go Dragons!!!
Malad track athletes are anxious to get on the track for this new spring season but Mother Nature has had other plans. The snow and ice have been slow to melt, keeping the team from finally using it. Not wanting to damage the new track by scraping it with snow blades or the like, the team is getting a little creative. The middle school team used one of their practices to walk the track, going through drifts as high as two feet. With the temps starting to rise coupled with the will to get on the new track, the Malad track team hopes that before too long, they will be flying down the backstretch of their own new track.
While it isn’t in the books yet, the MHS administration and team are determined to host a meet this season. Dragon track fans should keep apprised for the day that the weather will finally cooperate and they will get to cheer on their favorite track athletes on their home turf.