Proctor track yet unfinished, still benefits this year's teams

Proctor High School will finally catch up with the rest of its rivals when its new track facility is finished later this summer. "It will put us on the level with everyone else," said Jim Savre, Proctor girls' coach. Until this season, the Procto...

Proctor High School will finally catch up with the rest of its rivals when its new track facility is finished later this summer.

"It will put us on the level with everyone else," said Jim Savre, Proctor girls' coach.

Until this season, the Proctor teams used the spaces they had available for practice; spaces that also double as driving and parking lanes for cars.

"We have an alley we do 200s in... a hill... and there's a dirt road that's really soft," said Savre. "The [high school's] turnaround is where our 4x100 practices."

The track has been a long time in coming, and Savre said that being track-less has most likely hindered progress.


"This is my 15th year as a varsity coach, and we've never been able to say to our hurdler, 'Go out on the track [and practice]... and then come back in,'" said Savre.

He was referring to hurdlers such as sophomore Anna Sather, who holds the school record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.7 seconds, and who is working this season to improve her times.

"I want to get into the 14s," said Sather. "That's what I want."

Savre said that the track will be a benefit to all his athletes but "where we're really going to see (improvement) is with our high jumpers and pole vaulters."

Senior Lindsay Leveille is one of Proctor's strong field athletes and a high jumper who said she is going to "shoot for 5 feet" this season.

"I feel like I'm better than I was last year," said Leveille, who was not able to compete in Tuesday's home meet in Superior.

Practicing on a home track can only speed up the improvement rate. Leveille said, "I wish we would have had it done (for this season)."

In seasons past, when the team needed to practice on a track, they loaded up and drove 25 minutes to UWS, a site which served as Proctor's "home" for hosting meets like last Tuesday's.


"When we host meets, we are still using someone else's starting blocks and someone else's exchange zones," said Savre. "We are the only show in town (who's) never had a home meet."

"I have about 40 girls on the team," he added. "Basketball has about 30; they have a gym. The swim team has their pool. The hockey team has their ice rink."

The track, located just across the street from the school, "will be done at the end of July," said boys' Coach Lowell Harnell, who added that it would be definitely done before the fall season begins.

"We're in no hurry because we can't use it this year," he said.

Several seniors are sad that they won't get to compete in an actual at-home meet, but they are excited about the possibilities for future athletes.

"It's disappointing not to get to use it, but it will be nice for the younger kids to ... get experience" running on the same track, said senior Amy Nelson.

For Nelson and her senior season, "it's definitely nicer than being on the roads" for practice.

Senior Katie Knight said she is also disappointed but said that it has been helpful to practice on what is there now.


"It's nice to know where you're at," she said.

Sophomore Christie Francisco said she feels bad for her senior teammates who won't get to have a home meet on the track.

"They've been waiting, and now we finally get a track," she said.

As far as how the new track will help the team, "I think we'll turn out more quality runners," said Francisco.

The one downfall, said Francisco, could be the track's high elevation, but she said it could also be helpful to practice.

"It's windy up there," she said, "but we'll get a lot of wind resistance training."

Now, the track remains largely unfinished, but the team is able to run on the blacktop, which will be covered with an all-weather surface later this summer, said Harnell.

"It is modeled after the National Sports Center in Blaine," he said. "The track is still 400 meters (around), but it's built around a regulation-sized soccer field."


"The stretches are shorter and the curves are longer," said Savre. These qualities give the track a more square, rather than rectangular, appearance.

Harnell said the school received grant money to put in a soccer field near the high school. In order to use the money to also build a track, he said the "stipulation was there had to be a soccer field" there also.

The new area will also have locker rooms, storage space, specific areas for field events and a practice football field.

Savre said that up until last year, only four of eight teams in the Lake Superior Conference had their own tracks.

"Denfeld and Central used to share, but now they each have their own," said Savre. "Hermantown got their track, and I can tell it's made a difference."

"It will potentially help us in almost too many ways to count," he added.

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