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APER celebrates new track and field facilities

Rebecca Frank, Mills College's record holder in discus, came to the new track and field facility lunchtime celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 27 to do the inaugural throw. (Nicole Vermeer)

After three years as an official NCAA participant, the Track and Field team now has a throwing facility to practice discus, shotput and javelin throwing. The facility is located on the far end of the Richards lot, in a formerly unused field.

The Mills department of Athletics, Physical and Educational Recreation (APER) held an inaugural ceremony at the new facilities on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 12 p.m. The opening celebration included a pasta cookout, various Milla athletes and APER staff members and the grounds and facilities workers who helped build the facility.

Rebecca Frank, the school record holder in discus, came to do the inaugural throw.

According to athletics director Themy Adachi, the throwers had been “sort of homeless,” often being kicked off of practice spaces, which weren’t accessible and required transportation time.

The ceremony drew current students as well as alumna. One attendant, Perla Cantu, was a javelin thrower who graduated in 2009.

Cantu said said the new facilities were a much-needed addition to Mills.

“As a thrower it was stressful to sit around at practice,” said Cantu, noting that meanwhile, runners were able to do their training.

Many say that the new facilities will help the track team. Before the new facilities, the throwers had to practice at different schools such as Samuel Merritt University. Several staff members of APER said this will lead to more efficient practices, including less class time missed.

According to Laché Bailey, who is starting her first year as track and field coach, the new practice facility will allow throwing students to practice longer and practice more often. Bailey said this should make “a huge difference in performance.”

“Most importantly it shows a commitment by the school and the department… there are people here making it happen,” Bailey said. “It shows to athletes that we are using school funds to support what they’re doing.”

According to Adachi, the facilities construction was mainly headed by the Mills grounds manager Ron Galvan.

“We know this wouldn’t have happened unless you went above and beyond the call of duty,” Adachi said. “It was a long and involved process. It could have cost $100,000, but Ron said ‘I can do it for you,’ and he did it for a much for reasonable price. And on the hottest day of the year.”

Galvan was also present at the ceremony.

“I’ve been here 15 years… it’s always a matter of funding,” Galvan said. “If I see the need I’m more than happy to do it and at a lower cost too.”