By Neve Murphy, Emily Roberts, Helena McGinley, Nico Roig, Hailee Shah, and Saaj Shah, Staff Writers
// This year, under the Friday night light, students cheer for the Dons on a shiny new football field.
Renovation occurred in late summer to redo the Acalanes High School track and field and completely replace the turf and track. The Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) collects money from the state and funds such projects across the district every ten years to maintain the stadiums. Acalanes Sports Boosters provided additional funds and donations.
“We get money from the state, and then we use that for capital expenses, so this year, us and Miramonte got our fields done, and then next year Campolindo and Las Lomas will get their fields done,” History teacher and Co-Athletic Director Haley Walsh said.
Coaches and athletes who train on the field recognized that an upgrade would improve the facilities.
“The old track was worn down and needed to be replaced urgently. It was getting harder and harder to run fast times in the sprints every year, and this hurt our ability to host successful invitationals. Also, the finish line was in the incorrect place, causing issues with several races, and especially the 300 [meter] hurdles,” Varsity Track and Field Coach Joe Escobar said.
The new track is made of synthetic rubber, making the surface harder and more elastic. The new, softer pellets provide less injury risk than the former pellets.
“Over the years, the compacting of the rubber pellets and all the stuff in [the turf] makes the field harder and harder,” Varsity Football Coach Floyd Burnsed said.
A fresh coat of paint with a new starting line makes it easier for spectators and runners to see the lanes and the finish. The new track welcomed its first runners just before the start of school, and athletes are already noticing improvements.
“The paint is a lot brighter, and it’s bouncier. It makes me excited for track and field [and] our times will be good,” Cross Country athlete and senior Megan Yee said.
Aside from technological improvements, the renovation has increased motivation and spirit in the football program and the community.
“It’s pretty motivating; it’s like we got this brand-new field. Let’s go hard, let’s back up why we wanted this field, and let’s earn it. I think it was a great investment,” Football player and senior Aiden Yates said.
The endzones were redesigned in Acalanes blue to amplify school spirit and display the school name.
“I feel like it’s nice because it’s our colors, and that’ll motivate players because they’ll be like, ‘this is our field,’” Soccer player and sophomore Sara Tarnai said.
Not only is the field for athletes, but it is also the center of the Acalanes spirit.
“The football field’s one of those areas where people gravitate to parties on the field, home-coming, and the biggest event is graduation on the field. It really shows off-school spirit. It’s pretty spectacular,” Football Sports Boosters representative Jane Smith said.