Piece of history preserved at Orange Park High

By Bernie Berania Special to Clay Today
Posted 7/11/18

ORANGE PARK – In the final stretch of the school year, track lane numbers “7” and “8” from Orange Park High School’s stadium were retired and presented to Principal Clayton Anderson …

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Piece of history preserved at Orange Park High

Posted

ORANGE PARK – In the final stretch of the school year, track lane numbers “7” and “8” from Orange Park High School’s stadium were retired and presented to Principal Clayton Anderson and Head Track Coach Rob Garcia for their final preservation.

Athletic Director Michael Harrison, with the assistance of School Resource Officer Trent Dopp, kept two undamaged lane numbers before the track was completely demolished.

They presented the rugged cutouts of the track in a large portrait inscribed with the words “Thank You for Being a Piece of History at the Don Hall Track. Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”

In late April, strong winds ripped the third turn of the track from its foundation rendering the entire rubber surface irreparable and unusable. Considered one of a kind in Clay County track circles, Orange Park High installed the rubber track over 20 years ago. The history of the track and field has deep roots with local legend Don Hall, lifelong coach at the high school for over 45 years, who dedicated his life to students all over North Florida. The track was named in his honor.

“Both Coach Garcia and Principal Anderson spent manual physical effort and their own money repairing the track for the past several years, literally on hands and knees,” said Harrison. “We wanted to save a part of history for these two men who both cared for the track and knew Don Hall personally.”

Also in attendance for the presentation was Clay County’s Director of Academic Services for K-12, Michael Wingate.

The plan is to replace the track with an asphalt surface in hopes of establishing a foundation for a modern-day track and field.

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