JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s been a trying year for high school sports as the coronavirus pandemic has forced some games and practices to be canceled, leaving a lot of young athletes disappointed.
But one Jacksonville high school will return to its athletic programs next year with renewed focus thanks to a gift of state-of-the-art equipment.
At Raines High School, the student-athletes had to use workout equipment that was decades old, while others had the new stuff.
“We are able to see some of the equipment or some of the field houses or just some of the state-of-the-art stuff that they have, our kids are always asking, ‘Why can’t we have it?’” said Raines Principal Vincent Hall.
Raines Athletic Director Tony Bannister said: “You go around to some places and some of the top programs in the country and you go to their schools and you see the equipment that they have, you see the five or six different sleds that they have, and you say, ‘Wow, man, imagine if we had some of that stuff to work with how much better our program would be.’”
Come January, they will no longer have to imagine. Former Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli’s foundation worked with Academy Sports + Outdoors to provide Raines $5,000 worth of new training and exercise equipment.
Raines’ athletic director and principal were at Academy Sports’ Southside location on Tuesday to accept the gift from Boselli and Academy.
“Raines has done pretty good with the old stuff, so I’d be worried if I was around the state of Florida. They got some new stuff. They got some great kids over there, some smart kids, great athletes, and we are just happy we can help them with new equipment to get them to higher heights,” Boselli said.
Some of that new equipment includes weights, dumbells, benches, barbells, floormats, treadmills and other cardio equipment.
“They’re going to be very thankful to know that the Tony Boselli Foundation has reached out and said, ‘Listen, we believe in you and we want to invest in your physicality.’ So, you know, they’re going to be excited,” Hall said of the students.
Boselli said this all started when his foundation picked a Raines teacher of the year and talked about the school’s needs. That’s when they realized an updated weight room would help Raines athletes for years to come.