Connellsville High School, PA
The running track at Connellsville High School isn’t the oldest facility at which ATT Sports has worked, but it likely has the most unique story of perseverance and athletic accomplishment.
Connellsville alum John Woodruff won a gold medal in the 800 meters at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. He was one of 24 Americans to receive an English Oak sapling in addition to his medal, and he was determined to plant the tree in Connellsville, where he grew up and excelled in track and field. All these years later, the oak remains as a reminder of the greatness that came from the humble surroundings as well as the incredible odds Woodruff and other black and Jewish athletes faced in Adolf Hitler’s 1936 games.
The tree is one of four to six still known to be standing in the United States and considered the best example of the English Oaks. Worldwide, one study found just 17 of the oaks living around the world.
At a location like Connellsville, the track surfacing becomes secondary. It was an honor for ATT Sports to work on the site, and we installed a black Spurtan BS “mat and spray” surface that will serve the student-athletes and surrounding community for the better part of a decade. We’d also like to thank Playing Surface Solutions, who partnered with ATT Sports on this project and also took great care to protect the slice of history just outside the track.
And when it’s time to resurface, Woodruff’s tree will likely still be there standing watch. Decades from now when the track could be completely replaced again, the hope is Woodruff’s tree will still be going strong as is has since 1936.
A plaque at Connellsville High School in Pennsylvania tells the story of alum John Woodruff, an Olympic gold medalist in the 1936 Berlin games.