Student Attendance at Track and Field Meets
Daynah Harrell running the 200m dash.
During football and basketball season the bleachers are filled with students, parents, and people from the community, but for track and field there is a huge drop off in attendance, especially student attendance.
"When it comes down to students attending track meets unless its close to the school that they go to they won't really show out or show up for the track meet… the student body at Churchland High School, we are like more reserved instead of out, you know what I’m saying like we’re more reserved. There’s not like a group of students that just go to each event and like cheer us on. It’s not like that type of student body," said Jayshaun Campbell, a junior discus thrower and offensive lineman on the football team.
Isaiah Tonkollie, a junior sprinter on the Track and Field team for Churchland, says a very low percentage of students come to track meets.
"If I had to put a percentage on it, now if we're talking school overall 10% or 5%."
Head Coach of the Track and Field team, Coach Quinton Harper agrees that student attendance is low for track meets.
"It's always been low ever since I've been here since 2011… Most students work nowadays, so you know they like to go home and go to work, or they're just not into sports."
Gregory Taylor warming up for his high jump PR.
It can be tough to attract students to track meets for multiple reasons. "If you're not a track person, it's gonna be kinda boring for you," explained Coach Harper.
"Oh definitely because of individuality. You got like guys showing up for one person. They'll run for 20 seconds and that's it… It's less enticing to watch. You have to have a strong attention span to watch track, a lot of kids they lack that," Tonkollie stated.
The solution to the lack of fans in the stands is a tricky problem to fix, and multiple people have different solutions.
“I would say probably advertise it more," suggested Campbell.
"Make the meets more fun, less serious. More big man relays, I've seen something on Instagram… they were using watermelons as batons. So include more activities."
Research shows that when a crowd is watching an athlete, the parts of the athlete's brain that affect motor skills are more active which improves their performance.
"It's always a good feeling to have your peers out there to support you, cheer you on. It gives you that extra boost, that extra momentum that you need," Coach Harper commented.
Campbell agrees with Coach Harper. "It’s not gonna alter the team in any way other than having a more positive vibe.”
On the other hand Tonkollie disagrees based on the team's performance at the Eastern District Championships.
"I'm not sure because the last meet was at Churchland and a lot of kids showed up there, a lot of kids we've never seen before because it was close by. The kids didn't do as best as they could, there weren't a lot of PR's… overall I think the team did pretty bad. Honestly I think it would make it worse because maybe they'll be distracted by their peers, maybe they'll be too nervous. We didn't perform as well as we could've."
Photos: Jayshaun Campbell