WCBVI And ISVI Track And Field Meet

Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired vs. Illinois School of the Visually Impaired

Wednesday was a perfect day for a track meet. The meet was held in 72 degree weather with minimal wind and only a few clouds to block the warmth of the sun. Athletes from Illinois and Wisconsin competed in a variety of events at the WCBVI outdoor athletic facility which featured a 220 yd 4 lane track with a 6 lane straightaway.

Athletes were grouped in one of three classes. Class A athletes are totally blind or might have some light perception. Class B athletes have from 2200 to 2400 visual acuity [2000 would mean that a person could count fingers at a distance of 4 feet] while Class C athletes have 2200 visual acuity or better. The rankings system is verified by an Opthamologist. Last weekend the WCBVI team competed in Kansas against similar teams from Kansas, Minnesota, and South Dakota. To set a record athletes must compete at tracks in Ohio, Indiana, or Tennessee. Those states have 440yd tracks. The conference meet will be held in Nashville this year.

The track pictured above has four lanes which have rubber coated wires which act as guides. The wires extend for 100yd. The edge of the track had many other guides. The walking canes that students use while navigating the sidewalks and streets of Janesville were temporaily discarded [left] as athletes competed in the meet. Athletes at WCBVI compete in track and field, goalball, wrestling and cheerleading as well as swim and forensics.

Margaret a WCBVI athlete sang the National Anthem [left] and also competed [above, right] in events for the Badgers.

Kelly Bailey [left, on the right] is the boys coach at WCBVI.

Runners competing in the 60yd dash use the guide wires as they run to the finish line. WCBVI athletes come from all parts of Wisconsin. Kim [left, visor] is from southeastern Wisconsin. Many parents, friends, fans and staff attended the meet. Kim's mother was at the meet cheering her daughter on. Athletes from the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired traveled from Jacksonville, IL, which is about 4 hours from Janesville.

Pat Baker [above] is the girls coach at WCBVI.

The jumping events include the running or standing long jump. Class A athletes are given the command 'CLEAR' and then a helper begins clapping so the athlete can correctly align with the pit area prior to the jump

Above: ISVI girls coach Dawn Chambers [ far right] helps one of her Class A athletes after a jump.
Below: Veteran WIAA official John Hegge was the starter at the meet.

Above: The start of the 600yd race. Class A athletes use the 60yd straightaway wires as guides in their 600yd race.

The wires have cloth/tape wrapped around the wire at the finish line. In the 600yd shuttle race runners turn around [right] when they feel the cloth/tape at the 60yd mark [left and right].

Above and below: In the tandem races a Class A runner is paired with a runner who is able to see well enough to navigate the track.