HomeOpinionOPINION: JMCSS needs to build a track the right way

OPINION: JMCSS needs to build a track the right way

This conversation happens nearly every year in the early part of the summer.

Spring Fling happened last week, and once again, Madison County had some athletes finish well and bring home a few gold medals.

It really should be viewed as one of the more underrated sports traditions in the area.

Jackson – whether it be public or private schools – sends athletes from different high schools to Murfreesboro to compete for state championships, and a few of them succeed in proving themselves to be among the best in the state.

But just looking at public schools, Adlofo Mireles’ win in the pole vault falls in line with the run Jackson Central-Merry had about a decade ago when the Cougars brought home consecutive championships in the short relays and sprints.

Dez Maclin and Jalen Marshall were a big part of those championships, and both went on to sign scholarships to run track in college – Maclin at Tennessee and Marshall at Austin Peay.

By the way, Maclin went on to get his degree from Tennessee, had another year of eligibility left, ran for his final year at Cumberland University and won a couple of conference championships. He’s now on track to get his Masters degree in education later this year, and he plans to be an academic counselor for college students.

And while we’re discussing track athletes from JMCSS who went on to compete at Tennessee, let’s not forget one of Jackson’s most successful athletes.

Jabari Greer played football and ran track at South Side, and he did both at Tennessee as well. But before he went on to become a Super Bowl-winning defensive back, he was an All-SEC track athlete.

One reason he garnered a track scholarship is because of his work in the hurdles.

Mireles’ championship in the pole vault is different from the others, because the majority of the other championships were won on the track.

What’s not different is that Mireles’ weekly trips to Memphis to be coached in his chosen event is just the latest in another tradition.

Jackson athletes do what they have to do to train so they can compete and hopefully win.

Mireles went to Memphis each week.

Greer borrowed hurdles from his track coach and took them across the street from his house and practice hurdling by setting the hurdles up in the church parking lot across from his house.

Other track athletes at South Side have had nowhere to go to practice their sprints so they ran down the hallways of their school when class wasn’t in session.

At the time Maclin and Marshall led JCM to multiple relay and sprint championships, the main place they had to train was the dilapidated track adjacent to Oman Arena. So they made sure to practice in lanes that didn’t have too many holes in the track all the way around and worked on baton passes and other crucial parts of a relay race where they could on the track.

The silver lining to this situation is that JMCSS Superintendent Marlon King and his leadership team have a new football stadium with turf for soccer and multiple schools planned to be built next to Oman where the dilapidated track has been. And in the plans for that stadium, full track and field facilities are in those plans as well.

But Madison coach Brian Buchholz had a good point when discussing the issue last week.

When JMCSS gets to the point that this track is being designed and built, please get a company that specializes track building to do it.

Because as good as a construction company may be at building schools or other buildings, building a track is a highly specialized thing to do. It requires the right surface and the right subtle engineering in ways that no one outside the world of running fast and jumping high can understand.

So to protect the athletes that will run and jump around on this stuff, please make sure the people who know what they’re doing are the ones responsible for getting this done.

It may cost a little more money to have it done that way, but I think everyone would agree that various projects in unrelated fields around here give us enough experience to know it’s better to pay more in the beginning to get it done right than to try to save in the beginning and pay a whole lot more later to fix things that should’ve been done differently.

Dez Maclin got his education and is about to help no telling how many others in their education, and it was partially made possible because of his participation in track and field at JCM.

How many other students have missed out on a college education because of a lack of track and field facilities in Jackson?

How many more stories like Maclin’s can JMCSS tell in the future if this were to happen?

Brandon Shields is the managing editor of The Jackson Post. Contact him at brandon@jacksonpost.news. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or Instagram @Editorbrandon.

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