Logan Domingo had barely slept two hours Friday night, but he was still up and dancing and singing to Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” early Saturday morning.
Domingo, 15, was one of dozens of Lodi High School students who braved the rain, hail and chill to walk and run dozens of laps around the school’s dirt track to raise money in the second annual Ready to Womble! 24-hour Relay.
The relay is part of an already year-long campaign to try and raise $1 million to renovate the Lodi High School dirt track and the surrounding pole vault, high jump, long and triple jump areas. The money will also go towards helping to improve irrigation for the high school’s football field.
Students, coaches and parents have raised roughly $260,000 in the past year, and each of the 106 students involved in the campaign have pledged to raise at least $100 towards the project.
“We deserve this,” said 17-year-old student athlete Mayra Mejia. “We have worked really hard to raise money and we have put in so much effort to try and get this.”
Mejia said that the dirt track the school currently uses contributes to injuries like shin splints, and slows down the athletes who compete on it. An all-weather track would eliminate much of those issues.
“We are underestimated when we go to meets because of the track we have,” she said. “And when people come here, they comment on how hard it is to run on (the track).”
According to David Phillips, treasurer of the Lodi Sports Foundation-Track Boosters, students collectively ran and walked more than 800 miles in the 24-hour relay.
Phillips echoed Mejia’s sentiments that the 100-plus students involved in the campaign really are working hard.
“They all came out and ran the last half-hour of the fundraiser together,” he said. “Some looked like zombies at the end, and I’m pretty sure some had their first cups of coffee last night. But ... they pulled together.”
Last year’s relay, which was the kick-off event for the fundraising campaign, brought in more than $30,000 in donations.
While Phillips said the money raised from this relay has yet to be counted, he believes the campaign is well on its way to helping to update the track — one of the last dirt tracks in the county.
The event, named the Ready to Womble! 24-Hour Relay, is in honor of long-time Lodi High School teacher and coach Don Womble, who passed away in November 2010 from cancer.
Womble devoted much of his time to student athletes at the school for more than 30 years, and he continued to be a constant presence with Lodi High’s cross country and track and field coaching staffs until his death.
According to a press release from the fundraising committee, the new track and field complex will be named the Don Womble Track and Field in his honor.
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.