ARPA State Track Meet this Saturday at Enterprise High School
More than 650 athletes from 18 Alabama cities will compete in the Alabama Recreation & Parks Association (ARPA) State Track Meet this Saturday at Enterprise High School.
Leading the 85 athletes from Enterprise is Brad Fortney, Performance and Wellness Coach for Enterprise City Schools and volunteer extraordinaire for Enterprise Parks and Recreation.
“Coach Fortney has been great in the fact that his season hasn’t stopped. He’s doing his season along with our season,” Enterprise Parks and Recreation Superintendent Blake Moore said. “Two weeks ago, when we hosted the ARPA District Tournament, he had a track meet in Trussville. He didn’t get home until 2 a.m. on Saturday and he’s up at the track for District at 6 a.m. to help us. His passion and drive for kids, to see them get better, that’s what we like from a Parks and Rec standpoint. It’s all about the kids.”
About five years ago, Fortney, a former college football and track athlete, his wife, Jen, and their then 6-month-old daughter made the decision to move to Enterprise from Wisconsin after a whirlwind 24-hour trip.
“We pulled up to Enterprise High School and it was like the Taj Mahal. Since then, the support I’ve received from my family and the administration, it’s been incredible,” Fortney said.
The week following his visit to the City of Progress, Fortney was back in Enterprise on the football field as a varsity assistant coach. Soon thereafter, he’d start as a volunteer with the Enterprise Parks and Recreation Department (EPRD).
“I just think it’s a really good thing to give back to the kids and expose them to something that offers a ton of kids a lot of opportunities,” Fortney said. “It’s building a better foundation for these athletes for all sports. It’s been a no brainer for us to have Parks and Rec out to use the facilities at the High School.”
Enterprise High Track and Field students, along with P.E. teachers and other High School coaches help Fortney coach the EPRD athletes who range in ages from 7 to 14.
Fortney said just this past week, members of the girls’ team who just finished fourth in the state for relays, were able to share their accomplishment with the younger athletes.
“It’s been really cool to sit back and watch as a coach. I don’t know who I see more excitement out of it, the little kids participating or the high school kids helping them,” Fortney said.
Moore said that camaraderie is what the program all about.
“To have people like Coach Fortney, his P.E. teachers and even his high school kids have that passion and same drive, that speaks volumes for what he is doing over there at the high school,” Moore said.
On the state level, Moore said other programs are noticing what’s being done in Enterprise.
“When we hosted this meet last year, they were all excited and looking forward to coming back this year. That’s all in due part to what Coach Fortney has accomplished,” Moore said.
“Track can be a great sport when it’s moving and it can be like watching paint dry when it’s not,” Fortney said. “If we run bad track meets, if we’re not having good practice and having fun, it could really deter kids from trying the sport.”
Both Fortney and Moore hope that parents will bring their kids out to Enterprise High School Saturday to watch the athletes compete in the 12 different events.
“We are so appreciative of Enterprise City Schools and Dr. Thomas, as well as Trent Trawick at Enterprise High School for allowing us to use the facility to host the meet,” Moore said. “The top-notch facilities allow us to showcase just how important athletics are in Enterprise, whether through the school system or through our Parks and Rec. programs.”
The ARPA State Track Meet starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at Enterprise High School. Tickets are $10 per spectator. Kids 5 and younger are free.