CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon State University track program is back in the starting blocks after a 17-year hiatus, and the return was punctuated last week with the opening of the Whyte Track & Field Center.
Current athletes were joined at Friday's ceremony by past coaches and letter winners. Former coach Berny Wagner did the honors by breaking the tape and was followed closely by lead donor Jim Whyte and volunteer fundraising coordinator Dick Fosbury, the Corvallis Gazette-Times reported.
"It's the next chapter of an unfinished story, and we're so excited that we got this concrete real facility now that the student athletes can train on," said Fosbury, known for creating the "Fosbury Flop" high jump technique as an athlete at OSU. "This is just the beginning."
Now that the university has a world-class track, the second phase of the rebirth will be building a grandstand and other amenities to hold meets.
It's been five years since athletic director Bob DeCarolis announced that the Corvallis school was going to build the facility.
"It seemed like a really far-fetched idea," said track coach Kelly Sullivan. "Fortunately it has not been a far-fetched idea."
For the alums — who endured 17 years without a track program — it has been a long wait. The current athletes simply can't wait to train on it.
"Every time we come out here, my breath gets taken away," junior Audrey Botti said.