Bradford’s new football field, track & additional facilities paying dividends

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Bradford's new facility has brought the school and the community a new sense of pride. (Dale Barger photo)

BRADFORD – It’s been a big year for Bradford as they welcomed in a new football stadium last fall and a new track for the first time in the spring of 2024.

Bradford Superintendent Joe Hurst talked about the facility and the steps to make it happen.

“This has been a needed and lengthy process that took the dedication of many people and groups to accomplish. The Bradford students, staff and administration want to thank the community for the support of this facility! We plan to have the food prep/STEM room/restroom facility finished before the fall football season next year and have begun organizing the plans for the multipurpose building. We intend to integrate state-of-the-art technology and efficient equipment into both buildings to give the residents and spectators of Bradford competitions a set of facilities they can be proud of,” Hurst explained.

One of the drivers behind the track project was Athletic Director Chloe Thompson and she took the time to talk about her involvement in the project.

A look at the football stadium at night before their 1st game of the season in 2023.

“When I was hired in the summer of 2019, one of the first things that I was told was, “We want a track. We need a track!”. It took a while to get to where we are today, but this spring we were able to schedule four home track meets for our athletes, and that is so exciting! Unfortunately, Mother Nature claimed one of our JH meets, but we successfully hosted two HS and one JH meet,” Thompson said.

“This was something that has been one of my favorite accomplishments, giving our athletes a home track to compete on and be proud of. I have loved learning how track meets run and the ins and outs of a sport we have only competed at on an AWAY level.

We have plans to continue growing each meet we host, including taking on the JH WOAC Championships next spring,” Thompson added.

“This facility brings me so much pride in our school and community, and watching it grow has been exciting. We like to go check on the progress each day and see how far it comes all the time. Currently, we have been watching the food prep/STEM room/restroom going up, and soon it will be the multipurpose building we’re watching be built. It has really been an amazing project to be part of, and I am so proud to give our kids these facilities,” Thompson concluded.

Track coach Athena Beachler talks about the advantages of having their own track and what a thrill it is to be able to practice and have their own place to host meets.

“The new track at Bradford schools has really been a huge improvement to our program. We have an increase in numbers for our teams. Having all new equipment and a facility to train on and host meets has been exciting for the athletes. We are seeing great results from the girls’ and boys’ teams this season. I believe having the new track to train on has helped in that regard,” Beachler commented.

Boys runners get to break in the new track in 2024. (Don Selanders Photo)

“For the boys’ team, Owen Beachler has finished 1st or 2nd place with the 110 and 300 hurdles and set a new meet record at the Miami Co. Championships. Our boys 4×200 team has placed in meets, Avery Felver has really improved his 100m & 200m times, and we look forward to seeing Zage Harleman’s opportunity to get to Regionals again this year,” she added.

“For the girls’ team, we have Avery Helman returning with setting PRs in the 100m & 200m, Megan Wood is keeping the 800m as her race. Having Emma Lavey this season, she’s holding top ten spots in the 400m and 800m. Savannah Beachler has placed 1st in the 400m a few meets and holds the current one spot in the conference. Natalie Wood is getting to new heights in the high jump. Our senior Brooklyn Crickmore has placed top 3 in several meets with throws and Leah Clark has been improving with her throws as well,” Beachler concluded.

Bradford is enjoying their new track and equipment that allows them to hold their own meets and have a place to practice. (Don Selanders Photo)

It’s been a process and positive results have been realized so far for the Bradford football team playing on the field in the fall and the track team running on the oval this spring.

Soon-to-come results will be realized with the completed multi-purpose building as well as the food prep/STEM room/restrooms to serve the Bradford community.