Senior fundraises to resurface track


Kayla Kozak

Senior Ashlee Kothenbeutel holds homemade medals awarded to top finishers in the 5k. The race was held on Oct. 21 and raised almost $800 to help refurbish the track.

Bending into her starting position, senior Ashlee Kothenbeutel feels her feet start to slip. Everything begins to move in slow-motion as her body falls towards the rough track. The feeling of the rubber burns her knees as she frantically tries to stand up in front of the crowd. Her cheeks burn with embarrassment as she calls senior Chika Chuku to help her balance herself to start the race a second time.

Kothenbeutel is one of many track and field runners who have experienced an injury as a result of the poor condition of the track. “There are spots on the track where the rubber is completely missing, and that means when we run sprints, our spikes are running on concrete. It provides no cushion whatsoever,” junior Holly Dixon said.

For her Senior Project, Kothenbeutel plans to raise money to refurbish the track, fix the shed next to the track, and build a snack bar nearby. “I want to build a snack bar because teams like football raise revenue from it,” Kothenbeutel said.

On Oct. 21 at 8 a.m., Kothenbeutel hosted a 5k and 1 mile walk at JC to help fundraise money to refurbish acomplish these goals. Registration was free, but donations were greatly encouraged. “We [sold] shirts and [had] free food and water,” Kothenbeutel said. The race was Halloween themed, and particpants were encouraged to compete for the titles of scariest, most creative, and best group costumes.

Kothenbeutel chose the difficult task of rebuilding the track because of her experience in the running community. “I’ve been running since I was a fetus. My mom was a hurdler in college, and I always participated in Harford County track as a kid,” Kothenbeutel said.

Originally, she did not plan on rebuilding the track or doing anything sports-related for her Senior Project. “I wanted to do something art-related, but I am really close with the track community and there was a lot of talk about resurfacing the track,” Kothenbeutel said.

Running has played such a major role in her life that if she does not commit to a Division I field hockey program, then she plans on running in college as well. “Division I coaches don’t typically allow the players to run track and play their sport,” Kothenbeutel said.

Runners are overjoyed to have someone who is willing to put in the effort to build the track up from what it is now. “I think it’s absolutely awesome to finally have a student that is interested in a sport that most of the school ignores. Running sports are always placed secondary,” Dixon said.

Cross country and track coach Robert Torres agrees that the resurfacing of the track will benefit the team.“I am very glad she is doing this, the track is in horrible condition and anything she can do is great,” Torres said.

The actual rebuilding of the track does not yet have an official time frame. “It could potentially be built in a year or a couple of years,” Kothenbeutel said. A group of people have formed a committee named the Race Ready Revolution that meets every other week to discuss the progress of the campaign.

Now that the race is completed, Kothenbeutel plans on interviewing people about what fixing the track means to them and why they feel it is needed. Along with interviews, she will be taking pictures of the track before and after it is refurbished.

Kothenbeutel also plans on comparing the JC track to Maryvale Preparatory School’s track. “The Maryvale track is awesome and super nice to run on,” Kothenbeutel said.

Kothenbeutel is grateful that her Senior Project has given her a chance to fix something that plays such a major role in her life.

“Track has always been an integral part of my life, and I feel like having a better track [at JC] will encourage [students] to compete on it,” she said.

Paige Alban is the co-Editor in Chief of The Patriot and