Athletic schedules face less stress with addition of 3rd turf field in Steamboat
The turf field at Sleeping Giant School is officially complete. Students took to the full-size field for the first time Wednesday, rolling on its fluffy green surface and admiring the massive red “S” in the middle.
“They have all been very excited,” said Sleeping Giant School Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Karen Draper.
The field provides a place to play and burn off some energy and take a break from the school day for the students at Sleeping Giant School. The new turf also opens up more opportunities for athletics of all ages across Steamboat Springs.
Starting with a renovated Gardner Field, Steamboat has seen three brand new turf fields installed since 2018. Around the same time, the Steamboat Springs Middle School field was seeing work done.
“It’s amazing we were able to work without it,” said Joe Laliberte, assistant principal and athletic director at Steamboat Springs Middle School. “I remember my first year here, we played a high school football game on our old field with ruts. There were weeds everywhere and dirt patches. We lined out the field to play this high school game. In my mind, it was borderline we could even play a middle school game there let alone a high school game.”
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The top notch facility at the middle school provided a lot of relief in spring 2021, when spring, or Season D, sports were fighting for field time in a compact schedule.
With just a few weeks to compete in girls soccer, track and boys and girls lacrosse, the odds of overlapping home games was much higher than usual. The middle school field saw soccer and lacrosse games to allow for simultaneous competitions.
Steamboat Springs High School Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Luke DeWolfe said the middle school field was essential in getting through that spring season. He thinks that if the high school was in need of the middle school field again, the middle school could then use Sleeping Giant School’s field, which is lined for all the main sports, including lacrosse, soccer and football.
“I think for high school, the biggest benefit we’ll see is in the spring due to the fact we have so many teams that are in need of field space during that time specifically,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, that’ll be the biggest benefit to us.”
Having three fields also provides three practice spaces. Teams aren’t all combating to use one space, so more squads can practice at the same times and, therefore, get home earlier.
“That helps us really support the educational processes throughout the high school, getting kids home early so they can eat dinner, do their homework and get to bed at a decent time,” DeWolfe said. “I think there’s a huge huge benefit for us to support kids and families in a more effective way than we have in the past.”
Right now, there is no team calling the field at Sleeping Giant School home. There is a combined football team from Sleeping Giant and Steamboat Middle schools that is practicing and playing at the middle school. However, there is a game scheduled at Sleeping Giant School for Oct. 2.
Most middle school sports remain one combined team, except for volleyball and basketball, which have high participation.
“We’re all about skill development at this age,” Laliberte said. “So, we looked at the sports where there was the most amount of participation and the least amount of kids playing at one time, to look into having two separate teams.”
Unless otherwise noted, the field at Sleeping Giant School is open to public use after school hours for anyone that wants to feel the turf between their toes. Draper just asks the public to treat it kindly and not eat or drink on the surface as a means to increase its lifespan.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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