Most athletes start their workouts with a warm-up and stretching, but 17-year-old Hassan Ilyas and his track-and-field cohorts have to prep not only themselves, but the track.
Before they run, they grab shovels to remove rocks, bring in a rake to smooth the area and then stomp down the dirt, Hassan said. The whole process takes about 15 minutes if you ask Hassan — 30 if you ask his brother, 15-year-old Muaz.
Hassan said the pre-practice ritual is not as bad as it could be, but Muaz isn't so optimistic.
"[Schools with synthetic tracks are] really lucky," Muaz said. "I wish we were there."
Muaz soon won't have to covet any other school's track when Fountain Valley High School gets its own synthetic track courtesy of the Huntington Beach Union High School District. The problem is, the track isn't the only facility that needs work.
Community members have taken on an ambitious assignment to raise about $800,000 to replace the school's field before the track gets redone. The district has already budgeted about $200,000 to replace the field with natural grass, but if they can raise the money in time, it can be used for the synthetic field, said Principal Chris Herzfeld.