JVA soccer kicks off first game on new turf with a mercy

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JVA soccer kicks off first game on new turf with a mercy

Freshman Luca Dedivinaj dribbles the ball up the field.

Freshman Luca Dedivinaj dribbles the ball up the field.

Parker Hopkins

Freshman Luca Dedivinaj dribbles the ball up the field.

Parker Hopkins

Parker Hopkins

Freshman Luca Dedivinaj dribbles the ball up the field.

Nur Awkal and Dominic Lount

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With the help of $20 million given to Utica Community Schools via the 2018 bond proposal, Swinehart Field was able to get an upgrade over the summer in the form of new turf. Since Swinehart Field is the home to two schools, the previous turf eventually began to wear down, causing safety issues and turning the possibility of new turf from a want to a need.

“My favorite part about the new turf is that it’s in playable condition,” principal Tom Lietz said. “There were divots in the turf. It was a mess.”

The turf is not just used for athletes, as members of the band also have to march around carrying their very heavy instruments. Heavy instruments combined with divots in the field could cause serious injuries.

“I’m not just worried about the athletes,” Lietz said. “Our marching band is out there marching with 100 pounds of instruments on them, and they take a step backward, and the turf would drop.”

The JVA boys soccer team was the first team to play on this field, matching up against Warren Mott on Aug. 9. They defeated Mott by a large margin with a score of 8-0, starting a streak of games in which the team won.

“The 6-0 start to our season made us feel really confident,” junior Akash Daniel said, “but some harder games came and we dropped them.”

After six straight games ending in a successful outcome, several athletes were moved up to varsity, and the JVA Chieftains finally lost on Sept. 9 against Dakota with a 0-5 score. Although this put and end to their streak, it also helped add to an overall record of 8-4-1 on the season so far, with 5 of those wins coming from the home field.

“We’ve been playing really good,” sophomore Ethan Smale said. “We’ve been moving the ball really well together.”

The team hopes to continue winning games and finish out the season strong. It is widely believed by Utica students that the new Swinehart turf is cursed, and helped the Chieftains with their successful six-game streak. The boys JVA soccer team is racking up the wins and trying to finish out the season strong.

“We tied against Dakota, and they are one of the best teams in our league,” Daniel said, “so that gave us confidence.”

John Daraban
Drone view of the new Swinehart Field turf.

DETAILS ON THE NEW TURF

The new Swinehart turf differs greatly from the old turf that was laid on the field for a significant period of time. First off, the turf itself is of a darker color, and there are new painted lines that signify different yard markers as well as out of bounds areas for football, soccer, and lacrosse. The end zones also differ from the previous turf, as they are each completely colored in with the school colors of the two Utica Community Schools that play there: Utica and Eisenhower. Another addition to the field, was a replacement of the previous track. Although the field is said to look really nice by many, according to Lietz, thea main priority with the new turf is safety.

“The beautiful orange end zone looks really nice,” Lietz said. “When they had the three principals in the room one person was pushing for it and I’m like I don’t care, is it going to get fixed and is it going to be safe? I am pragmatic, that’s what I care about.”

The turf will continue to play a major role for lots of UCS events. Swineheart will continue to be the main field used by both Utica and Eisenhower teams. As for whether or not the winning streak really has impacted the teams, only time will tell.

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