Aliquippa Monitor awarded grant from Dick’s Sporting Items

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MONACA – The Aliquippa rail team has never needed much to compete at a high level. Over the many years of the program’s existence, the Quips have always remained one of the top teams to beat, despite not having their own home track to train and compete on.

Aliquippa-Track is no stranger to it. It has become almost routine for the quips to leave the WPIAL and PIAA athletics championships with at least a few medals for their excellence. On Wednesday afternoon, however, the program did not receive recognition in the form of a medal or a trophy, but through an even more important avenue: funding.

Through an effort by Dick’s Sporting Goods aimed at helping sports programs in need, Aliquippa’s boys and girls track and field team received $ 10,000 through the Sports Matter Community Grants Program.

“They sent a representative downstairs a few months ago and I had the opportunity to speak to them and tell them about our sports program,” said Aliquippa Athletic Director Brandon LeDonne. “In the beginning it wasn’t just about athletics, it was about getting a feel for whether we are a sports program that has some needs.

“They were really interested in our trackless track program. A couple of weeks later they got in touch with me and said they wanted to provide a grant for our trackless track program.”

The scholarship was celebrated with an event on Wednesday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Beaver Valley Mall. Aliquippa Athletics Head Coach Sherman McBride was in attendance to represent the Quips along with longtime assistant coach Vashawn Patrick, the school’s faculty and nine student athletes.

Jim Famularo, a community marketing manager at Dick's Sporting Goods, shows off the jerseys they made for the track program before presenting the program with a check for $ 10,000 at Beaver Valley Mall on Wednesday.

“It’s incredibly rewarding for the kids, the program, and even me,” said McBride. “Things like that let you know that there are other people out there who watch and appreciate the good work we do.”

“It’s like it was made for a Disney movie,” said LeDonne. “With few resources, the success that coach McBride and our athletes have had is really enormous. They couldn’t have picked a better group.”

The scholarship will not be enough to create a full-size track on Aliquippa’s campus. However, it will allow the school to provide their runners with a smaller, track-like surface on which to train.

Aliquippa rail coaches Vashawn Patrick, center, and Sherman McBride, far right, hand out Dick's Sporting Goods T-shirts after the company loaned the Aliquippa rail program a check for $ 10,000 to the Aliquippa rail program at Beaver Valley Mall on Wednesday.

The days of sprinting in the high school hallways or outside the building are nearing the end, which both LeDonne and McBride love.

“We hope they get a trail or two somewhere on campus that they can train on and get better at,” LeDonne said. “What you’ve done in the past has worked, but that should make things even better.”

Contact Noah Hiles at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @_NoahHiles.

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