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Eastern Greene track open for businessPosted Wednesday, April 23, 2008, at 9:57 PM
EASTERN HEIGHTS -- Although I don't think that Monday, April 21, 2008 will live in infamy like Dec. 7, 1941 (the bombing at Pearl Harbor that was the start World War II) or Sept. 11, 2001 (World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings), but it would probably be ranked No. 1 as far Eastern Greene High School track and field is concerned.
It was just three days ago when EGHS hosted Owen Valley in a boys and girls meet in the debut of the new facility at the new school, featuring an eight-lane, all-weather track and separate areas for the discus and shot put.
It has been 20 years since Eastern Greene has had a track, and that one left a lot to be desired.
"The last time we had a meet at Eastern was 1988," said girls coach Mike Caldwell. "And that was an old cinder track.
"We only had one spot for the discus and shot put. It used to take us forever to finish a meet."
The Thunderbirds, who moved into their new high school approximately two months ago, have been practicing for years in the parking lots at the old school.
Boys coach Bill Valentine said before the season that his teams have been training in that parking lots throughout his 11 previous seasons and there was no doubt that the new track would help his athletes to perform at a higher level.
Caldwell, who earlier in the school year resigned as girls cross country coach at EGHS, said he never doubted that a modern facility would be built. The new school opened a couple of months ago.
"I always believed that we would have a track like this," said Caldwell, who added he is trying to find a younger person to groom to take over for him as girls track coach in a few years. "I always knew that we had the people that would help get a new school and other facilities."
It has been a couple of decades since the Thunderbirds have hosted a track and field meet, and as a result Caldwell said there were some problems like you have with any other meet.
"You always have trouble finding enough help," he said. "You have to have quite a few people to put on a track meet.
"You need all the people to run the field events, plus people to time at the finish line. But we will make it work."
Superintendent Randy Barrett, principal Kevin Frank and athletic director Brian Holland were on hand Monday. Holland was using a bull horn to announce the events.
Caldwell said the timing of the first meet, in the third week of the season, was perfect.
"I don't think the timing could have been any better to have our first meet here," he said. "Mr. Holland had that worked out about right."
Eastern Greene will have one more home meet this season -- Monday, May 5 against Mitchell.
"Everything timed out very well this year," said Caldwell. "We had to wait on our mats for the high jump and pole vault areas. We just got mats for the pole vault last week.
The track and field teams won't be the only Eastern Greene teams benefiting from the facility. It also will be the home this fall for the Thunderbird football team.
After five seasons of playing home games in Bloomington and all throughout the Wabash Valley, the Thunderbirds will finally play its first home football game Friday, Aug. 22 against Linton-Stockton.
See you there.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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