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75th LeFebvre Relays to help kickoff Placer Athletic Complex fundraising

By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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All Placer High School grads have been invited to attend the 75th LeFebvre Relays, which will also serve as a kickoff to the Placer Athletic Complex fundraising effort.

This year’s rendition of the longest running meet in Northern California is set for Friday, April 5 and will also feature an Alumni Celebration where former Hillmen can reminisce about the good ol’ days, catch up and enjoy a barbecue next to the stadium’s snack shack.

Races begin at 1:30 p.m. and end around 7 p.m. An alumni 4-by-100 relay will also be held around 3:30 p.m. Admission is $5 and the cost for the barbecue is by donation.

The student relays and events will be conducted under a format that promotes team depth, rather than one where an individual is capable of winning multiple events. In the field, each team will receive a score based on the total score of three athletes competing, with the highest score winning.

“It shows the depth of your team and builds camaraderie and team spirit,” Placer coach Katy Chamberlin said of the event which was started by former coach Earl Crabbe in 1938.

The winners of each division will get a trophy. The top three teams in each event will receive medals.

A two-mile race will be contested to get distance runners involved.

While 15 schools, including Colfax and Del Oro, will be taking part in the relays and field events, past Placer students will get a chance to learn about the plans for the Placer Athletic Complex and have the opportunity to donate toward the cause.

“The idea behind it is to get the Placer Athletic Complex kickoff fundraising started and it’s a chance to get Placer alum to come back,” said Chamberlin, a 1987 PHS graduate. “They don’t have to be former track athletes. All alum are encouraged to come anytime between 1 and 7 p.m. to come support athletics.

“We’ll provide you with a barbecue. The idea is to get them there and get in contact with them and let them know about track and field updates — spread the word. We want to continue a tradition of excellence and success.”

In November, the school announced its plans to raise $1 million for the first phase of improving its athletic facilities.

The goal in the first phase is to renovate the track and field as well as improve lighting, walkways and stadium seating at LeFebvre Stadium. Plans include underlying the field and track with drainage and installing synthetic turf. The 17-year-old track would also receive an overlay of synthetic material. Lighting would be upgraded, visitors seating raised and home side seating extended.

“Our track is in dire need of repair,” Chamberlin said of the flooring, which hasn’t been resurfaced since 2003. “We have asphalt coming up on parts of it.”

The goal of the athletic complex is to make the school’s facilities more useful, with other improvements such as a new all-weather 400-meter track surface, renovation of jump fits, a new discus and shot-put ring, improvements to the walkways, establishing an Alumni Center and a new north entry gate.

The athletic complex will also be made available for public use when not being used by the high school’s athletic programs.

Phase II, which will follow Phase I, seeks to install synthetic surfaces and new lighting on the softball diamond and practice field.

Campaign chairman Bob Haydon is hoping all alumni will donate at least $50 to the renovations.

“If you graduated from Placer, we want you to feel like you’re a part of this,” said Haydon, a 1961 PHS alumnus.

Plans allow people to donate money toward certain parts of the football field, such as being the sponsor of the 50-yard line or a certain lane on the track, Haydon added. There will also be a competition to see which classes can raise more money.   

Plans for an alumni social hour at a local restaurant after the relays are in the works.

The event needs 60 to 70 volunteers to run smoothly. Chamberlin said there are currently about 25.

Anybody interested in helping out can email Chamberlin at kchamber@puhsd.k12.ca.us.

Donations at the relays can be made to the athletic complex at a booth by the snack shack.

Reach Matthew Kimel at matthewk@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@matthewkimel