BVA getting jumping pits
By Chris Buckley
Published: Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 11:20 p.m.
With no facilities to practice jumping, the Belle Vernon Area track team routinely arrives early for away meets so its jumpers can practice.
Because the district has no track facilities, all of the Leopards meets are on the road. They use the football field to practice running events, often sharing it with the baseball and soccer teams.
But now, the district will have its own jumping pits.
During the Belle Vernon Area School Board meeting Monday, Mike and Judy Brewer turned over to the district the proceeds from the BVA Race for a Track, which was held from 2010 to 2012.
The $10,800 will fund construction of long jump, high jump and triple jump pits for track athletes at Belle Vernon Area.
“The jumping is our biggest deficiency,” said BVA track coach Chris Stasicha. “We basically have no place to practice jumping. This should be a tremendous help.”
“Kids can practice the art of running now at the football field or on the school grounds, but they can't practice the art of jumping,” Mike Brewer said.
Brewer said district officials have been “very positive and appreciative.”
“Many of kids in our summer program are from BVA and they are excited to have these jumping facilities,” Brewer said.
“It's an infrastructure improvement that would not have been possible without our sponsors and all of the people who ran the race.”
The race raised nearly $17,000 over three years. Of that, $6,000 funded an engineering study that detailed three possible track facilities, ranging in cost from $1 million to $4 million.
“If we could have raised a million dollars, I would have built that facility with the hopes of adding on in the future,” Brewer said.
But he acknowledged that even with the profitability of the 5k race, held for three years at Cedar Creek Park in Rostraver Township, raising the money needed was a monumental task.
“No big donor came forward to want put their name on it and the township and the school district could not come up with the loan due to financial constraints,” Mike Brewer said.
That was a major factor in the decision to cease the fundraising campaign, Brewer said.
In addition, he and his wife, Judy, devote much of their time to coaching the Greensburg Central Catholic track and field teams and the Valley Speedsters club.
“We coach six months out of the year, almost 40 hours a week, in addition to our jobs,” Mike Brewer said.
Despite the lack of jumping pits at BVA, Matt Green won WPIAL and PIAA championships in the long jump in both 2009 and 2011. However, he was a member of the Brewers program.
“He went through the Valley clubs,” Stasicha said. “There was not a whole lot to teach him.”
With no one to carry on the BVA Race for a Track, the event was put on hold for 2013 with hopes of finding someone to take it over.
“All of the people who came out to race and the sponsors, did so with open arms,” Brewer said. “The school board and the township also welcomed us with open arms. But no one took it on and Judy and I couldn't do it going forward.”
The Brewers met earlier in the week with Belle Vernon Area Athletic Director Jesse Cramer and Stasicha to discuss their plans to turn over the money to the district. At the meeting, board President Dale Patterson thanked the Brewers and their organization for their efforts.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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