TAMPA — The Sickles track teams have plenty of hurdles to jump.
Their major hurdle, however, is their field of dreams. Their track and field team has an asphalt track that doesn’t live up to the standards set by other area schools who have the safer rubber tracks. In track events, it isn’t uncommon for a runner to stumble and fall — and taking a tumble on rubber is simply safer than on asphalt.
The end result is while other programs, like Gaither, Leto and Jefferson, are able to attract big events, the Sickles track team can’t.
Sickles High School Athletic Booster Club member Don Vendrone, however, is determined to do something about it. It just might cost a few bucks.
“It is hard to get meets at home because nobody wants to run on asphalt,” Vendrone said. “Coaches and schools simply don’t want to run on an asphalt track.”
The problem is trying to raise money. Converting a track from asphalt to rubber is a costly proposition. Vendrone said it could cost as much as $80,000 just to resurface the track, but it would take about $100,000 to complete the entire project.
But the Booster Club is already working on the problem. It is holding fundraisers and sending out fliers to try to reach the goal. It might not be easy, but there have been community businesses offering to help. Publix, Smoothie King, and Pinch-A-Penny have all offered funding. McDonald’s has offered to donate 25 percent to anyone who asks that it go to the Sickles track project, but Vendrone has bigger plans to get the rubber track in place.
Vendrone is trying to put together a fundraising carnival to raise funds — and he’s reaching out to fans of the Sickles football team for help.
“If we can get a rubber track, we can get more kids to run for Sickles,” Vendrone said.
To help with the Sickles track program, contact Don Vendrone at vendro firstname.lastname@example.org.