Before spring weather finally kicked in, Crookston School Board Chair Frank Fee mentioned that it appeared snow had been pushed off the Ed Widseth Field football surface and piled up on the running track that surrounds it, in order for Golden Eagle football players to conduct spring drills.
“So who knows what the track is going to be like when the snow melts?” Fee wondered.
Well, the snow has melted and, in what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, the track surface is in bad shape. It’s been getting worse every year.
A while back, a contract was signed that would have the track at Ed Widseth Field hosting the Section 8A boys’ and girls’ track and field meet. But the meet hasn’t been held here because of the condition of the track.
It’s only gotten worse. Word came Wednesday that the track and field meet that was to be hosted by the Pirate teams on Tuesday, May 1 at Ed Widseth Field will not be held here. It will be held in East Grand Forks instead.
To hold a meet at the Crookston facility would simply not be safe for the student-athletes. The cracks, the boils, the bumps...if a kid running and hurdling as fast as he or she can hits an irregularity on the surface and takes a tumble, it would not be pretty.
This situation isn’t pretty, either. It’s getting kind of embarrassing. The question is, is it untenable?
A track and field meet isn’t exactly like a football, basketball or hockey game when it comes to having a home-field advantage. It’s not like it’s an enclosed space packed with fans of the home squad that cheer with all of their might to encourage the home team, while making the road team feel in no uncertain terms like they are at a disadvantage and, therefore, achieving victory will be exceedingly difficult.
But it sure would be nice if local track and field parents and fans could venture to Ed Widseth Field to watch the Pirates in action. And we have some supremely talented kids this year; have you seen the results some of these Pirate girls are posting?
School district voters soundly rejected at the ballot box last year a proposal to build a new Pirate football and track facility on Crookston High School property. The view in this space today isn’t that we need to pursue something that big and expensive a second time.
But UMC leaders and school district leaders need to get together and figure something out. One can understand UMC being reluctant to spend money on facility fixes relating to an athletic program it does not offer – track and field – but there has to be an attainable, middle-of-the-road solution here somewhere.
It would seem we’ve reached the point where doing nothing should be an option acceptable to no one.