Watch CBS News

Denton County track club hopes for more support, better footing for student-athletes

Gratitude for an off-campus track club in Aubrey comes with a request for more conducive grounds
Gratitude for an off-campus track club in Aubrey comes with a request for more conducive grounds 02:32

AUBREY — Alonzo and Sheilla Tutson are the coaches who run the track club, "Tell Others To Run."

The non-profit group was born in McKinney, but for the past 7-8 years, it has called Denton County home.

Coach Alonzo Tutson said they concentrate on small groups despite having as many as 25 members. In December, he said they needed a place to practice, and Coach Sheilla started unsuccessfully reaching out to school officials.

After the May Denton Independent School District meeting, TOTR got approval to practice at Navo Middle School. The Tutsons were grateful, but they said that when they got to the campus, it was obvious that practicing would be a grind.

"We just want a facility that is usable," Coach Alonzo Tutson said.

The couple said the middle school's red gravel track was good for walking as exercise or walking a dog.

"But not to train athletes," Tutson said. "Not track athletes."

The gravel surface on the track could be better for those who run hurdles and for running track.

"If you're driving on a gravel road and you're trying to pick up speed, you'll spin out," He said. "Rocks will kick everywhere. It's the same thing on this track."

Student-athletes in the track club must practice throwing shotput on a school sidewalk. As for throwing the discus, Tutson said athletes have to go to the softball field. Long jumping regiments are done near the field in an area that's more grassy than soft and sandy for track athletes. He said uncovered bolts are a hazard to his kids' feet.

According to Denton ISD, they have money and plans to upgrade their middle school tracks. However, Cheek Middle School, where the track club would like to practice, is unavailable. Here's what DISD said in a statement:

Denton ISD is very fortunate to have a community that supports our efforts to deliver exceptional experiences for our students, including their support to build and maintain great facilities. We were happy to accommodate the TOTR Track Club, and approve their use of the Track and Practice Field at Navo Middle School – free of charge. All of the Denton ISD's middle school have the same set-up with the exception of Cheek Middle School – which will become the new standard for middle school Tracks and Practice Fields moving forward. The Cheek Middle School Track and Practice Field is currently experiencing unforeseen warranty and maintenance issues. To a casual bystander, it may look usable however Denton ISD is currently working with the contractor/installer of the surface to reconcile some inconsistencies. The Track and Field Facility at Braswell High School was upgraded to include the Carrico Athletic Complex – a fully operational 6A Football and Track Stadium. Non-school affiliated organizations may use the facility; however, fees would be involved. The fees would defray the cost of paying personnel to be on-site and utilities. Like most public school districts, Denton ISD asks all non-affiliated school groups (including churches, non-profits, etc.) who wish to use district facilities to complete a request form posted here.  
The request then moves through our Operations Dept., Athletic Dept. and the onsite personnel for approval. We wish the best for the young people of our community who are advancing to Nationals with the TOTR Track Club!  We can't wait so see them achieve great things, including when they represent our schools in UIL Competition in the near future.

It was too hot for the athletes from Tell Others to Run to practice on Monday, but on Wednesday, they will be back at Navo preparing for the AAU Nationals in July.  

Tutson said that their athletes have done well in sports at Denton ISD for years. The coaches said they would continue to pour into the student-athletes lives even though sometimes they get the runaround.

"They know, and the parents know that they deserve better than that," Tutson said. "If you're representing Denton-Braswell then you're representing Denton ISD."

He said, "If this is the best we can do, then shame on us."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.