DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The Houston Academy Track and Field team has a unique hurdle to overcome compared to its competitors, practicing without an actual track.
Westgate Park is home to the Raiders track and field practice.
In years past the team has practiced one or two days a week on the track at Dothan High, but because of COVID-19, they weren’t able to borrow that track this season.
Members of the team say the biggest challenge is that they can’t measure their exact times because they have to estimate the distances they’re running.
“The first time we actually get to know the speed we’re running at is when we’re at the meets so that is one of the problems that we’ve come across,” senior Sam Middleton said.
Because of this, HA is still ironing out some kinks. Their coach says a team should have everything figured out by April.
On the other hand, some runners think there are some benefits to their unique situation.
“Having to run on the hills and the terrain makes us faster on the flat surface in my opinion because you’re more trained for harder conditions,” freshman Holley Hart said.
The team is able to practice some field events on campus at HA but practicing jumps is difficult because they don’t have the facilities.
Their coach says the key to the raiders success, despite not having a regulated practice facility is having a team that takes pride in its sport.
“You have to have that commitment from the kids,” boys head track and field coach James Brown said. “Just that sense of having a space the totemic value of having a space to come to at schools is so powerful but we have to do it just based on personality.”
Although it’s not ideal, the Raiders make the most of it and they’re happy with how the season is going so far.
This season the team hopes to get on the podium for some events at the state meet in May.