Ely's Track and Field Team Overcomes Hurdle

By KBJR News 1

June 4, 2014 Updated Jun 4, 2014 at 6:37 PM CDT

Ely, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Track and field practice has a different look at Ely High School.

"I did hurdles earlier in the year, and it was hard to know where you were and how to set the hurdles and everything like that," said Timberwolves freshman runner Erin Bianco.

"Coming to meets is like the only time we can only practice. We practice in the streets and stuff," said Timberwolves freshman jumper Josh Heiman.

That's because the Timberwolves don't have a track of their own or any school support.

Eight years ago, the school board cut the program.

"Everybody was asking why and how and what happened," said girls' head track and field coach Jayne Dusich. "It was just cut. That was it."

It was cut just two days before the section meet. Head boys' coach Will Helms who was just an assistant at that time, told the kids to leave it all on the track.

"I told them if they had anything to say, just perform hard and take it out on the track," said Helm.

And they did just that. Ely had seven state qualifiers that year.

The following fall, parents decided they had to find a way to keep the program going.

"We feel like it's a pretty important thing, and we can't let it complete go away," said Ely track club president Julie Hignell.

And so the Ely Track Club was born. It's a club that handles all the team's "dirty work." Just ask Hignell.

"We collect the activity fees and pay for the coaches' salaries, all of the equipment, and transportation to the meets."

The club is also in charge of fundraising. That's exactly why they have their eyes set on a bigger goal in fixing the track.

Years ago, the track was made up of cinder blocks. Now though, all that's left are just some rock and pebbles. That's exactly why the team is hoping by next year they'll have a new track to run on.

"We've been working on this, raising money for it for all these years. We really feel like it's time to do," said Hignell.

"They have been talking with the school board and stuff so we are in together to try to do something even if it's a little bit," said Dusich.

Just a little bit that they hope will make a big difference for the kids.

Posted by Sarah Wheeler
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