published Friday, March 29th, 2013

Dalton prepares for new track facility

Although the project can't begin until after this season, Dalton High School has been approved to have a state-of-the-art track facility built on campus. The project, which has a guaranteed maximum price of $1.35 million, will include a new eight-lane Beynon track as well as a new Shaw sports turf infield and a separate area outside the track to be used for field events.

"It was supposed to happen before this year, but they needed 30 days of at least 55-degree weather, so it was too cold to begin before our season started," Dalton track coach Scott Thompson said. "Now they're scheduled to start May 8 on the track, which will be the same high grade as many colleges have. It'll be a phenomenal surface for our athletes, so we're very excited.

"It's been in the planning stage for more than a year and the last time our track was resurfaced was around 1996, so we've been in desperate need for this. We hope to have it finished by July 4."

Moving all the field events outside the track will be safer for competitors and officials on the track, and the turf infield will have both football and soccer lines painted on. That will allow all nonvarsity football games to be played there as well as soccer matches, helping preserve the grass playing field at Harmon Field, which will now be used only by Dalton's varsity football team.

Dalton also had two track athletes sign college scholarships this week. Sprinter/hurdler Susan Meinders signed with North Colorado and distance runner Bekah Houston signed with Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. Houston was last year's 800-meters region champ.

Meinders won the 300 hurdles state championship last season and has broken her own school record with a time of 44.10 seconds this year. One of Dalton's most versatile athletes, she also runs the 4x100 and 4x400 relays and the 100 meters and often competes in the long jump.

"I looked at a few schools in Colorado because I love that area," Meinders said. "I love the outdoors, and North Colorado really stood out. They want me as a 400 hurdler, and it's definitely a big relief to have my college decision over. It helps me focus on this season now, because I've put pressure on myself after what I did last year. I want to prove myself again this year."

Enicks vaults back

Barely a month after his second surgery in three weeks, Red Bank's David Enicks was back competing in the pole vault. Three weeks after an appendectomy, Enicks had surgery to repair a hernia in mid-February. He took a month off before he began jogging, rehabbing and eventually training once again.

Two weeks ago, during practice, he vaulted for the first time this season, and two days later he competed in a meet, vaulting 9-6, which ranks third in the area this season.

"He's a tough kid," said his father, Red Bank coach Hugh Enicks. "He was smart about taking some time off, but once he got back out there, he was ready to go."

Baylor hurdlers shine

No single group of area track athletes have dominated an event in the early season as much as Baylor's collection of girls' hurdlers.

Rachel Payne, Victoria Wicks and Selena Popp have the area's top three times in the 100-meter hurdles, and those three and Hayden Bryant have the top four times in the 300 hurdles -- all more than a full second ahead of the next closest runner.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...

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