By Charlie Perez, Online and Social Media Editor
Conley Ku (12) leans forward as he bolts across the finish line, well ahead of the rest of his heat. He has just run 200 meters in 22.40 seconds, improving upon his previous 5A state-qualifying effort and cruising to a first-place finish in the district.
Thanks to recent renovations, Falls Church’s track and field facilities are the newest and nicest in the district. This means Conley, along with the rest of the Falls Church track team, had the opportunity to run on his home track throughout the district competition. “The new track is so familiar, so I think we had that benefit,” he said, “And the fans gave us a real boost.”
Falls Church will also host Day 1 of the 5A Region C Championships, which includes all field events and the 3200m relay. This presents a unique opportunity to showcase the star athletes of Falls Church because unlike most other sports, track typically only has one home competition all year.
“Track just isn’t as visible as other sports,” said Jason Nguyen (11), who won the 55 meter hurdles at the Indoor Region 5C Championships this past season. “It always feels underrated, but maybe this year will change that.”
Assistant Director of Student Activities and Head Track Coach Bobby Krause was a key advocate for the replacement of the old track in favor of a more modern facility. He believes that, with the success of athletes such as Conley, it was all worth the effort.
“It was important for me that at the district meet, we had a track that our athletes were familiar with and could run fast times on, and it worked out,” he said.
Track meets can also help bring in revenue for all of the athletic programs in the school. The snack bar and cost of admission go towards new equipment, buses, and entry fees to prestigious competitions. To that end, major invitationals, weekend meets with as many as 40 participating schools, can bring in upwards of $10,000 for the host schools.
Coach Krause was also excited about the possibility of an invitational coming to Falls Church. “I can’t think of a facility in the entire county that’s better suited for a big meet than ours,” he said. “The revenue that an invitational could bring in could be a huge difference-maker around the school.”