The Santa Maria High School track badly needed a re-surfacing.
In the homestretch, chunks of the track were missing. Besides, "The surface had gotten really hard," Brian Wallace, Santa Maria's athletic director who also oversees the school's track and cross country programs, said.
The re-surfacing has come, in time for late-summer cross country workouts.
"Our runners ran on (the new surface) for the first time last Thursday," said Wallace.
The company that installed the track was Beynon Sports, which also resurfaced Righetti High's track in 2015.
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"I think that company is based in Oregon," he said.
Santa Maria received a new athletic facility, which included a turf gridiron and all-weather track, in 2008 with the passage of bond Measure C2004. The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District renamed the stadium after longtime athletic director Ralph Baldiviez in 2008, as the stadium also received a new pressbox and the synthetic turf on the field.
The track, though, was starting to disintegrate.
"Our runners really like the new surface," said Wallace. "There's definitely some bounce to it."
Santa Maria cross country track runners Amy Perez, Doris Nogales, Chris Cervantes and Jedric Callado all gave the track a good review, though they said running on the new surface will take some getting used to.
"Doing workouts last year was hard because the track was so beaten up," said Perez. She and Nogales both ran for the Santa Maria girls varsity team last year.
A group of 125-150 youngsters stretched out for calisthenics on the Pioneer Valley football field Thursday.
Perez will be a junior when the 2019-20 school year starts later this month. Nogales will be a senior. Cervantes will be a junior Callado, who ran for the 2018 Santa Maria cross country squad that repeated as league champion, will be a senior.
The new surface has a spiffy look, with parts of the track colored gray to go with the majority of the track's traditional brown color.
Santa Maria's boys cross country squad won the inaugural Ocean League title in 2018 upon the school's move to the CIF Central Section. They dealt with training on the deteriorating track during the process.
The new surface "feels nice," Cervantes said.
"It feels good to work out on a nice track and with a good team," the junior, who will by vying for a varsity spot, said.
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Callado said, "For right now, I'm just trying to get the feel of (the new surface). It definitely has some bounce to it."
"It will take a lot of getting used to, because the old track was beaten up," said Nogales.
"It feels different," said Perez. "The old track was old, like, very old. This is a different surface."
Though they are unfamiliar footing with the new surface now, the runners welcome the upgrade.
"We'll get used to it in time," said Nogales.