After over a decade of work by members of the Oyster River community, we have now had a full year to break in our new sports facilities.
Oyster River High School sports teams are enjoying their new home field, and many athletes believe that the new facilities have improved their team. “We can definitely get out onto a real playing surface a lot earlier in the year,” says Rose Mroczka (‘17), co-captain of the girls lacrosse team. “Also, since it’s a large field we’re better conditioned when we go to other smaller fields.” Spring sports teams are now able to use the field in early March as opposed to waiting for the old field to dry up in previous years. The teams can also now play and practice under the lights, which allows for every team to have time on the field throughout the day.
The new facilities have also improved the experience for fans. ORHS teams play several games each day, so fans can stay and watch multiple teams compete throughout the day. “It’s nice to have the field right here because it’s easy for fans to come out and support the team,” says Aidan Yoder (‘17), pitcher for the ORHS baseball team. “ ‘Fill the Hill’ has become kind of a catchphrase because fans watch the game from the hill next to the field.” Yoder also believes that the extra fan support has helped the team this season. “We play better when we have more of a fanbase. We go out, hit the ball hard, and get cheered on by our friends, it’s great.”
It’s safe to say that everyone in the ORHS community is impressed with the new facilities. However, there is still more to be done on the project. “We’re fundraising right now for bleachers, and we’re fundraising for dugouts for the baseball field,” says ORHS athletic director Corey Parker. “Those are the priority items right now. After that, there’s talks of possibly creating more storage for track equipment and a few other projects.” One improvement on the wish list of many athletes and fans is adding a sound system to the facilities. “A music system would be nice and make it feel more like a stadium,” Mroczka states. “I think that might help draw in more fans as well. But those are all extremities, in terms of a playing surface I’d say it’s all good.”
The addition of the new facilities marks the beginning of a new chapter for ORHS athletics. We are already seeing the benefits the track and field are bringing, but there is surely more to come. “I think it’s only going to keep strengthening our overall program offerings and increase our participation numbers,” Parker says. “I know the youth programs have been using them a lot and that helps immensely. Just to have a home that we can trust and count on every day is only going to bolster the participation levels.”
Written by Spencer Clark