Burke Catholic hosts first home track meet in 15 years
At the sound of the gun, senior track runner Ethan Wojciechowski took off like he has so many times before as the first leg of John S. Burke Catholic High School’s four by 800-meter relay. But this race was different; this was the first time Wojciechowski and other seniors at Burke Catholic competed in a meet on their home track. In fact, it was the first track meet held at Burke Catholic High School in the last 15 years. Wojciechowski handed the baton off to senior Ryan Murphy for the very first exchange on the high school’s new track.
“This will be a big memory; it feels amazing!” said Murphy who will be running for St. Bonaventure University next year. “When I first came to Burke Catholic, there were holes in the track. We’ve been working hard, and it’s great to finally be able to compete in front of our parents and classmates.”
Burke Catholic’s dream of a new track came to fruition thanks to the generosity of donors, the Burke Catholic Board of Trustees, BC Foundation, BC Parent Club, and BC Alumni Association who contributed a total of $200,000 to the project. The upgrade includes the repair of the pole vault runway and high jump area, and improvements to the track with new, technologically advanced, low maintenance material.
“The track was really beat up. They put a lot of money into renovating it and now we have the lanes, exchange zones, and new hurdles we need to host a meet,” said Senior Paul Eugenio who will attend St. John’s University next year and compete on its track club.
The new track is used by more than just the track team.
“I am so grateful to the former students who saw this need and donated to make this happen,” said senior track athlete Julia Legato who’s headed to Virginia Tech next year as a member of its Army ROTC program. “Everyone uses it! Every student and every team and even community members use it.”
“It’s really powerful to think about how the Burke Catholic family made this happen,” said senior Brandon Ascencio who will study Pre-med at the University of Albany next year. “It just impacts so many students!”
The track renovation is part of a larger strategic plan to revitalize Burke Catholic High School with upgrades to the campus. Its 2019 campaign aims to fund a full, modern renovation of all three science labs (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). While functional, the current science labs are original to the school which was built in 1964. The total cost of the project is $300,000 and there is already a commitment from a BC Class of 1986 alumnus to match up to $150,000 of funds raised for this capital project so all donations will have double the impact. Donations can be made at www.BurkeCatholic.com.