Construction at the Whiteland Community High School track and field facility has been a major inconvenience for both the girls and boys teams this spring.
While coach Brandon Bangel will benefit next season from the upgrades being made, he’s presently engrossed in the now.
At the moment, the Warriors don’t have nearly enough room to properly prepare for upcoming meets.
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“It’s been more challenging than I expected. Kids are creatures of habit, and when you take away what they’re used to it just becomes difficult,” said Bangel, who is in his eighth season as Warriors boys track coach and fifth leading the girls program.
“We originally thought we would have a set practice schedule going into the season, but it hasn’t worked out that way,” he said.
Whiteland can’t host meets because of the construction expected to be completed this summer.
The seven-lane track being expanded to nine lanes will make Whiteland a viable contender to host track and field events such as the Mid-State Conference and Johnson County Meets.
Should the school one day attempt to host a sectional or regional, the Indiana High School Athletic Association might have to considering Whiteland because of the renovations.
For now, though, things are messy — literally and figuratively — as Warriors athletes and coaches conduct practices at the nearby middle school, inside Whiteland Community High School or, if weather permits, outdoors.
Practicing at the middle school typically means sharing the nine-lane track with about 150 middle school track competitors.
“The thing I feel bad about is how tough practicing is, especially for the seniors,” Whiteland athletics director Ken Sears said. “They don’t have a track, but they’ve been great about it.”
Bangel partiality blames this for the fact he had a total of 110 athletes when the season began and is now down to between 90 and 95 entering Tuesday’s Mid-State Conference meets at Franklin.
“What it boils down to is we have to cram two or three days of practice into one,” Bangel said. “Most of the time the running we do is at the middle school track or in a gym.”