Story by Lori Brown
GRAHAMSVILLE Is it just a coincidence that the Tri-Valley boy’s varsity baseball team was division champs? Well, the newly-formed sports field management class thinks not.
The students in this class have been improving the varsity baseball field, as well as the solo useable field at city field, the softball fields at the fairgrounds and the football and soccer fields. Also, they are in the process of creating three new softball fields and a soccer field. Two of the softball fields and the soccer field are being built next to the track located at the Iatauro Sports Complex.
This definitely isn’t an easy task. After the project was approved this past August, these hard-working high school students worked not only during class but during lunch, study halls and after school.
The sports field management class has taken several field trips to learn more skills. They visited the Hudson Valley Renegades where they learned about turf, equipment, construction, seasonal timeline, technical information, and more. They were also sent home with goody bags filled with seed samples, technical manuals, t-shirts, ball field mix, and more. During the day they participated in the many workshops available.
They also visited Cooperstown and met with head groundskeeper, Joe Harris at Doubleday Field.
The athletes that play on these fields and their coaches are very happy with the improvements and maintenance done by the sports field management class.
The class works with many key people to make this such a success for everyone, including Jesse Bell, the head of building and grounds and his staff; Tom Mitchell (Little League Commissioner) and Superintendent Tom Palmer.
The community also pitched in some services to help build these new athletic fields. “This is a great experience for the students,” said Robert Hayes, the teacher of the sports field management class. “We are saving money for the district and the taxpayers,” said Hayes.
The students learned about the many factors involved with building new fields soil, test holes, drainage, sun exposure, sub-grade materials, installation, materials, water pipes, and field specifications for both softball and baseball.
“We use a lot of math,” said Hayes, noting that the dimensions for Modified, Junior Varsity, and Varsity fields are all different.
During the school year, the class planned their weekly responsibilities on Monday. Each person has a different task in order to get the job done.
In the fall, they are looking to partner up with other classes and eventually construct dugouts. The students in the sports field management class are Ridge Peters, Robert Totten, Kyle Henderson, Roger Coddington, Jared Ratner, George Baggatta, and Dustin Brackman. After school participants include Shawn Edwards, Greg Mednick, Marino Miranda, Dylan Schrader, Kevin Morales, Steve Brock, Nicholas Santiago, Trey Porter, Chris Klein, Christian Espada, Anthony Zecchino, Noah Fisher, and Cody Wilhelm.