A New Sandbox: ES Sports Provides UAlbany With Fresh Sand

Putting the President to work


From the time most children can walk, the Sandbox is usually a perfect place for meeting new people, developing friendships, and making clothes dirty in an effort to put pressure on the laundry detergent to prove its worth.  In some cases, the little tykes never outgrow this adventure, and the draw to the Sandbox is carried throughout high school and college.

The Empire State Sports Council wanted to continue to foster all of the above, and with the sandy environment of the Long Jump Pit at the University @ Albany turning mostly to dust over the past few years, it was time for a Fresh, New look and feel.  So, on a very warm January morning, the project to replace the sand began.  A combination of UAlbany and ES Sports Staff completely emptied the sand/dust mix from the pit in less than three (3) hours with the aid of wheel barrows, shovels, and small tractor with a dump body.

The President of the Empire State Sports Council, Ken Rechnitzer (Pictured Above in a blur because he was shoveling so fast), was one of the Board Members to lend a hand.  When asked about what led the Sports Council to make such a decision to replace the sand, he noted, “As an Official, which is just another of the hats I wear in any given week, I had the pleasure earlier in this indoor season to be the Long Jump Official for the Christmas Rush (the 1st meet of the Empire State Winter Express Indoor Track & Field Series), which was contested at the SEFCU Arena @ UAlbany.  Being one of the first people there getting prepared for our jumpers to compete, I started to turn up the sand and rake the pit.  It was alarming how much dust was kicking up, so much so that the arena had a cloud forming inside of it.”  He adds, “There wasn’t much I could do to avoid it, but I felt that there was something that needed to be done to keep this from happening every time the Pit was used.”

Eager to get the fresh, new sand into place, it took less than 90 minutes to get the sand moved into the sand pit.  There was even enough sand left over to add to the outdoor pit as well.  Completing the exchange prior to 2:00 Wednesday afternoon, the new pit was ready in time for Bethlehem High School’s practice, and the UAlbany Track & Field team later that afternoon.

Long time Head Track & Field Coach at UAlbany, Roberto Vives, was very grateful for the donation, and expressed such to the Empire State Sports Council in a private e-mail, that in part stated, “It has been more than seven (7) years since there was any addition or improvement to the indoor sand pit, and your donation (ES Sports) is a wonderful gesture, and we are very appreciative of this addition, and much needed improvement to our facility.”  In addition, Long Jump Coach Nadir Simohamed made it clear that the new sand was welcomed with open arms because, “As I see it, the new sand will benefit not only Section II Athletes and UAlbany Student-Athletes, but also the Track and Field community as a whole.  It will allow for softer and safer landings; therefore keeping our Athletes healthier, and happy to jump in a risk-free environment.  Moreover, it will make all of the marks more legitimate with a pit that is now up to standards.”

For more information on the Empire State Sports Council, check out their website at www.ESSportsCouncil.org.  You will be able to access information about all of their annual events and programs, especially the 2nd Annual Liberty Games, which is slated for July 13th – 21st this year.

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