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Indoor track season will be shorter, less expensive—and outdoors

A shortened indoor track season is about to begin, but one unlike any previous season. Practices are scheduled to start March 1 with a first meet planned for March 15. Athletic Director David Boisvert says whether to field both a girls and a boys team will depend on the number of students who sign up. Because of the pandemic, which has closed indoor facilities, “indoor” meets will be held outdoors, weather permitting, leading to a more limited schedule. And runners will wear masks.

“If the snow doesn’t melt until April vacation? Man … we probably [would] not have any meets,” Boisvert wrote the Press. “Most if not all of the facilities that we have used in the past—Reggie Lewis Center in Boston or Wachusett Regional High School in Holden—are still closed.”

This week the School Committee sharply cut the athletic user fee for the upcoming indoor track season in hopes of encouraging more students to take part. Registration for the sport is open now, with a price tag of $165 instead of last year’s $280.

Initially, Superintendent Linda Dwight came to the School Committee last Monday with a request to lower the fee to $200, because the indoor track season has been shortened from the usual 12 weeks to just seven weeks.

Dwight noted that costs to the school would be substantially lower than last year, because all meets for Bromfield will be in town. As a result, there will be no expense for bus transportation or indoor track rental.

More students are expected to sign up for indoor track this year, Dwight explained, because some will be using it to get in condition for other sports in the coming spring season. She also said the sport offers a social benefit, allowing kids to get together outdoors after a year when many group activities have been curtailed.

School Committee members reacted so positively to the idea of encouraging participation that they agreed unanimously to lower the fee even farther than Dwight had requested—to $165 per student. Bromfield Principal Scott Hoffman, who also attended the Zoom meeting, noted the program might still cover all its costs, despite the lower fee, by increasing the number of kids who sign up. He called it “a wise expenditure.”

John Osborn contributed to this article.

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