The fresh faces on the Eastmont football team will, appropriately, be playing in a Wildcat Stadium that has recently undergone a face-lift.
The track has been resurfaced and the long-jump pits have been moved so the field can accommodate the school’s soccer programs. But the biggest boon to the football team is the stadium’s updated irrigation system and the improved locker rooms.
“We’re going to see a better turf as well; it’s not perfect — it’s not Yankee Stadium. I think we’re in the Hoboken stage,” Eastmont athletic director Russ Waterman said. “But we’re working with contractors to form a turf management team.”
One player on the football team in particular is welcoming the new irrigation system. The old setup had holes in the playing field for the sprinkler heads, a configuration that is a product of the 1970s. Last season, then-sophomore lineman Chandler Shaw was jogging to the trainers to get an injury cleared so he could return to playing when he stepped in a sprinkler hole in the middle of the goal line, turning his ankle.
For a second consecutive year, the Wildcats have been displaced for practices. Last year the Wenatchee Complex Fire created poor air conditions, forcing the team inside, and this year the construction moved the team to the junior high.
“Every year is a new challenge with new obstacles,” head coach Doug McGill said. “I’m very pleased with how our kids have handled practicing at a different site. I’m excited about getting in the stadium and playing, as I am every year. We’re looking forward to Friday night; that’s why I love my job.”
Waterman lauded the team for its flexibility, but made a good point about an excited young football player’s disposition.
“It’s been a challenge. I give a lot of credit to our coaching staff and more to our kids,” he said. “But kids just want to play. When we were kids we played in a field, in the street, and that’s how they’ve been.”
When asked, the players did seem excited about the improvements.
“It’ll be nice now. There wasn’t much room and we were crowded and coaches were always getting on us to get back. Now we have 10 yards more room,” junior quarterback Killion McGinnis said. “It’s a better field and a better environment to watch the game with the remodeling of the stands. It feels like it’s more football-oriented.”
Regardless of the impact of the improvements, the field will be ready to go Friday when Davis comes to East Wenatchee to kick off the season.