Fort Walton Beach High School’s track and field team recently received a significant boost from the Northwest Florida Track Club. The club’s treasurer, Brian McMahon, presented a check for $28,500 to the team’s head coach, Lissette Fields, surrounded by coaches, athletes, and supporters.
Brian McMahon has been with the Track Club for over 25 years and is proud of his organization’s support for area track and field programs like the one at Fort Walton Beach High School.
- The gift will go towards continuing improvements to the rubberized complex, which is the only regulation track of its kind in the area.
Coach Fields explained how rubberized tracks like this one have been proven to minimize injury to athletes.
- “We have teams that come to our facility and say it’s comparable to those at colleges,” said Fields.
Fields also noted that donations like this have a cascading effect, benefiting not only the team but also the local community as it allows the school hold larger meets.
For instance, in February, the Viking Classic season opener welcomed 20 teams from across the Florida panhandle, some of which traveled from out of state and stayed overnight. During their stay, they visited nearby attractions such as the restaurants in Fort Walton Beach and Destin. These tourist interests are an added draw for people attending events at the track.
Jeff Harris, another longtime supporter of area track and cross-country programs, oversaw the presentation alongside his wife, Donna. As the owners of Run With It, they are instrumental in organizing the popular Lucky Leprechaun and Wicked Triple running events held every year that directly support the renovation project.
- “They were so passionate about what they are looking for – they had the vision; they just didn’t have the wherewithal,” Harris said.