A large crowd gathered on Tuesday, April 14, to watch the first city track and field meet of the season and the first event at Woodward High's newly renovated field.

The large crowd came as no surprise for Ivan Dye, the boys' head track coach for the Polar Bears.

“The community likes the new flavor,” Coach Dye said. “These new facilities get the community excited and involved.”

That excitement extends to the students, who take pride in their field and the chance to host their fellow TPS competitors.

“Students love the renovation,” Coach Dye noted. “We’ve got more members signed up on the team and it helps being able to train right in our backyard.”

In fact, according to assistant coach Chris Wojciechowski, some athletes have been training ever since the end of cross country season in October.

“We’ve had such a large turnout ever since the end of fall and the start of non-mandatory trainings,” Coach Wojciechowski said. “We’re looking to build the program here and have a strong core that can help us achieve our goals.”

Andre Ladd, an 11th grader at Woodward, competes in the hurdles and 4x4 relay. “I think the field is awesome,” Ladd beamed. “We’ve had a chance to work on it for a few months now. It definitely helps us work on our goals of winning and strong teamwork.”

Teamwork was visible in all the events — from the deft baton passing in the relay races, to teammates cheering on the runners of the 800m and even in the individual events where one could hear the hearty congratulations opponents offered at shot put throws.

For Coach Dye, that teamwork and positive spirit exude naturally from the pride of hosting an event.

“As coaches we want them to be students and citizens first and athletes second,” Coach Dye said. “We have mandatory study tables and GPA requirements. Then, when they get out on the field to compete, they have the opportunity to use what they’ve learned.”

There are no shortages of future opportunities to practice these outstanding qualities at the most recent addition to the sports complex at Woodward.

The Polar Bears and the entire TPS community have opportunities to enjoy year-round sports and events at Wilson Park through the Wilson pool, outdoor basketball, gymnasium, tennis courts, and of course the beautiful new track facilities that surround the new home field for Polar Bears football.

Be sure to visit www.tps.org and check out the athletic schedule for your next opportunity to cheer on our amazing student athletes.

Written on April 15, 2015