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New Track Sets Standard of Excellence in Athletics
By: Communications Manager Sarah Meyer
Enhanced performance, increased safety, improved durability and greater functionality — these are among the cutting-edge features students are experiencing this year with Rossman’s new state-of-the-art track.
Replacing a 24-year-old asphalt track, the new polyurethane track brings the athletic industry’s latest technological advances to Rossman as the school embarks on its second century of extraordinary education. The soft, porous running surface offers decreased body soreness and risk of injury by reducing force on leg muscles and shock to bones and joints.
“This track will make a significant difference for runners both physically and psychologically,” says Larry Huusko, who co-teaches Rossman’s physical education classes with Jenna Lucas. “The children will especially notice that the track is more forgiving if they are not perfect in their stride.”
While Mr. Huusko, who runs daily, is most excited about greater comfort while running, he says students are anxious to experience superior speed. According to a study published by the “Journal of Applied Physiology,” polyurethane tracks can improve running speeds by two to three percent.
For this reason, Mr. Huusko and Mrs. Lucas feel it is time to “retire” the current Rossman running records, which were achieved on the old track by alumni from the graduating classes of 1993 through 2016. Each spring, Upper School students strive to break the track and field records posted prominently in the gymnasium. According to Mr. Huusko and Mrs. Lucas, moving the old track records to a permanent plaque and clearing those slots on the annually updated record display will honor the first 100 years of running achievements while giving all of today’s students the chance to set records on the new top-quality track.
Students will have ample opportunity to run and work toward their goals in the years ahead because the new track functions in all weather conditions. Unlike asphalt, the material retains its adhesiveness when wet and prevents puddles by absorbing water. Already, Rossman’s academic program includes daily physical education classes for every student. In addition to a dedicated track and field unit, fitness is part of the daily curriculum. “Each class will run at least one lap a day this year,” says Mrs. Lucas.
Local independent elementary schools will also have the opportunity to enjoy the new track during six Rossman-hosted track meets this year. Rossman is only the second independent elementary school in the St. Louis area to have adopted this technology, continuing a tradition of setting the standard of excellence in physical education. In 1992, Rossman was the first independent elementary school in the area to establish a cross-country course on its campus, and in 2002 it was the first to introduce a rock-climbing wall. Rossman also hosts the annual Independent Schools of St. Louis soccer tournament and started the association’s annual floor hockey and basketball tournaments that continue to provide children with interscholastic competition and lessons in sportsmanship and teamwork 20 years later.
A century after the school was established, Rossman is not just thriving but leading the way in excellent independent elementary education — from academics to students’ physical and mental health.