Tony Rowe is now Head Men’s and Women’s Track and Cross Country Coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College. But he remembers running on the old track around Vittitow/Allison Field at Owensboro Middle School in junior high and says he coached scores of meets at the asphalt track during his tenure as coach at Daviess County High School.
Today, Rowe joined representatives from Owensboro Public Schools, Owensboro Health, and Kentucky Wesleyan College to officially open the new state-of-the-art Owensboro Track and Field (located between OMS North and South campuses on South Griffith Avenue) with a ribbon cutting.
“This place is close to my heart. But now, look at it, it’s something special. I’m really looking forward to having our own track and field here,” Rowe said after the ribbon cutting.
“What an incredible day for Owensboro,” said OPS Superintendent, Dr. Nick Brake. “This is the perfect example of three entities coming together to provide world-class facilities for Owensboro residents.”
The three parties involved with the project identified a need for a new track for the city of Owensboro, then put their financial resources together and made it happen.
The Owensboro Middle School and Owensboro High School track and field teams needed a new facility because the former track was not in condition to host regional meets. The OMS football and soccer teams also needed a new facility.
Likewise, Kentucky Wesleyan College needed a place to practice and host meets for their newly formed track team.
And Owensboro Health wanted a facility where they could host community health events that would also have some public hours where people could walk and run on the track for those in the community.
“This is really great because we didn’t have a track to run on last year,” said 1600 meter State Champion Breanna Alderton, who will be a senior runner at OHS this year. “It’s great to be able to train on a brand new track for my senior year.” Breanna joined Gavin Miller, a junior at OHS, and two runners from Kentucky Wesleyan, Rachel Keeley and Jonathan Johnson, for a lap around the track as part of the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Miller was most impressed with the rubberized surface of the track. “This city didn’t have a rubber track, so every race we would have to go out of town. So now we can have meets in town.”
“It’s good for training too,” Alderton added. “It’s not as hard on your knees.”
The Owensboro Track and Field was designed with middle school, high school, and intercollegiate competitions in mind. “We have some teams committed to run under the lights Friday, April 6th (2018),” Coach Rowe said. “This is going to be invaluable to us (Kentucky Wesleyan) and it’s going to help our program alot, in terms of recruiting.”
Rowe says most schools Wesleyan competes against has a similar facility. “This is a tool we can use to help get kids to Kentucky Wesleyan.”
Kentucky Wesleyan and OPS runners have already practiced on the track. OMS has a football game tomorrow night.
Later this year, an exact start date will be announced when the track will be open for public use Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 5-7am.