Members of the Houston board of education met on Tuesday of last week to hear a presentation on purchasing some new equipment for the track and field program.

Houston track head coach Mike Tottingham led the discussion, and the board approved the acquisition of new high jump and pole vault pits at a cost of $30,500. 

Tottingham, who is in his fourth year at the helm of track and field in Houston, said the high jump pad will be used by both the high school and middle school programs, while pole vault is a high school only event. 

“We will now be competing in every event for the first time since I have been coaching, at least for the boys,” Tottingham said. 

Both pit systems exceed all safety requirements by the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) and have a much larger footprint than the units they will be replacing. The school board is close to finalizing a plan for the construction of a new track in Tiger Stadium to replace of the old, dilapidated one (that’s not even regulation length).

“So we are now one step closer to having track meets in Houston again,” Tottingham said. “The start-up cost of pole vault and the safety of my athletes has been a big reason why we have not attempted pole vault in my tenure. There is additional cost associated with pole vault, as the poles themselves are not cheap and have to be tailored to the weight and ability of each athlete.” 

To help with that cost, Tottingham’s program is selling 100 raffle tickets at $20 each, with the chance to win a top prize of $500 cash, a second prize of a Yeti cooler (donated by Houston Do-it Center), or a third prize of a $200 Walmart gift card (sponsored by the Houston Walmart). 

Tottingham said that when the weather warms up, track athletes will also be painting tiger paws and big letter H’s on driveways or sidewalks for donations to the program. Anyone interested can contact one of the track coaches or a high school track athlete. 

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