Synthetic turf field fresh start for CHS sports

Field Use Salinas

The new CHS multiuse sports facility has been an overall success, with relatively few scheduling conflicts arising—despite some initial concerns that it wouldn’t be able to accommodate the wide array of sports teams at CHS.

“It wasn’t built to be a practice facility for every team, every day,” athletic director Golden Anderson says. “It really was built to get teams back on campus … to play games.”

The first potential issue that comes to mind is that of field hockey, which has historically been forced to practice on the less-desirable Carmel Middle School field, according to field hockey coach Christine Winge. Though field hockey is still only allowed to practice on CHS’ new field about once a week, there haven’t been any conflicts with practice scheduling, as Winge was given the football practice schedule ahead of time.

“There have been huge improvements in [their] game,” Winge says, as field hockey players now have a consistent, quality field where they can play all of their home games, even if they can’t use it for full-time practice.

In this regard, the new field is a significant improvement.

“Now track and field, field hockey, football, both soccer teams, lacrosse, they can all play games at Carmel High, whereas before just two of those [teams] could, between track and football,” Anderson says.

Some of these excluded teams, such as field hockey, couldn’t play games on the previous field because of its deteriorating quality, while “[the soccer teams] couldn’t play here because the field was too narrow,” Anderson says.

Girls’ soccer coach Whitney Grummon adds that there were other obstacles as well.

“You weren’t allowed to touch [the field] outside of football season so the grass could grow back,” Grummon says.

However, with the new synthetic AstroTurf, this is no longer an issue.

“[The field] is a lot easier to maintain,” says junior Robert O’Neal, a defensive back on the football team—although it has drawbacks such as turf burns from the rubber crumb infills.

Freshman Myla Hayes, the football team manager, adds that the new field was not made for daytime playing, since turf burns are more severe on a hotter field. Hayes claims that the new field would be better with the installment of floodlights, as night games would reduce turf burns and draw larger crowds.

Nonetheless, reception to the new facility has been generally positive. According to Anderson, it will cost only $4 million when complete, as compared to the $7 million Pacific Grove spent on their new field

“You’re getting a lot of bang for your buck,” Anderson says.

As O’Neal puts it, the new field represents a “fresh start for the football team”—and it really is, not only for the football team, but for the CHS sports community as a whole.

The new facility had its grand opening on Sept. 13, a 61-29 loss to Salinas, which was followed by a 34-31 Carmel victory over Christopher on Sept. 20.

-Ari Freedman