Coupeville held its own three-ring circus Thursday. A 400-meter oval served as the center stage and Mother Nature provided a blue-skied big top.
The school district christened its new track and field facilities, hosting its first meet in five years.
It wasn’t MusselFest or the Arts and Crafts Festival, but it did have the feel of a community event. An army of Central Whidbey volunteers offered their time to help run the meet, and another horde came to support local athletes and see the facilities their tax dollars helped build.
The new track was part of a bond passed by Coupeville citizens in April 2015.
No one, including longtime head coach Randy King and school athletic director Willie Smith, could remember when Coupeville regularly hosted meets.
Before the construction of the new facilities, Coupeville held only a handful of meets over the past decade when an opponent would graciously agree to compete on the Wolves’ dilapidated track.
Now Coupeville is included when scheduling sites for Olympic League meets.
“We are really jazzed up about our new facility,” King said. “It has been a long process. Way back when, we talked about building the new track in the year 2012. It took a bit longer, but we now have a track and field complex of which our community can really be proud.”
King lauded the community for recognizing the need and then providing its support.
“Dr. Jim Shank (Coupeville superintendent) oversaw this and has provided great leadership for us,” King said.
“Special thanks to our Lion’s Club, the Coupeville Booster Club and many others who have made donations to make this a reality.”
Lifelong Coupeville resident Sherry Roberts, whose daughter Lindsey is on the Wolves’ track team, was one of Thursday’s volunteers.
“Honestly, this makes me so happy for our kids and the community,” she said. “It’s a source of pride for Coupeville and the students. The kids on the team almost come to tears when talking about the new track.”
The pride and support, Roberts said, extends beyond the city limits.
During the fundraisers to purchase new equipment for the track, “people and relatives from outside of Coupeville, from outside of the state, donated,” she said.
“Now we have a facility the whole community can use,” Roberts said. “Community members walk on it, the elementary school students use it, the school PE classes use it.”
King and Smith said the new facilities have sparked interest in the program, and not just for athletes.
More than 50 students turned out for track this spring, a school record, according to King.
Smith said that students, some non-team members, helped build some of the amenities for the track, such as the lap counter, and were excited to be part of project.
Coupeville will host two other meets this spring, including the league’s junior varsity championships.
Thursday’s meet, which included Mount Vernon Christian, Chimacum, Port Townsend and Klahowya, featured 190 athletes.
King called it “a great celebration for the community.”