New turf, new tradition for Edison Local High School
RICHMOND — Changes are coming to Edison athletics in the form of new fields and facilities.
Following the football squad’s winless season a year ago, the timing could not be better.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for everyone. We’re blessed to be able to have all of the new stuff,” head football coach Shane O’Brien said. “It’s so exciting being an Edison guy and an Edison graduate (of 2012). I love to see it for the community and all of these kids. It was something that I always dreamed about as a player.
“It’ll be a little bittersweet to make the transition (from Cartwright Memorial Field.) I have a lot of memories on that old field, playing and coaching. But, it’s a new chapter, and we’ll be excited to start a new tradition up here.”
The first phase was installing artificial turf at the new home for the football and soccer teams. The Wildcats already are practicing on and becoming familiar with it.
“We’ll flip back and forth because there is a rotation with soccer playing here,” O’Brien said. “We’re up here and practice here for most of the time. The quality of practice is great and better on the turf. I think it reduces the risk of injuries. There are a lot of benefits from having an artificial surface.”
O’Brien added that he believes the field is ready for soccer to play its games. As for football, it is up in the air.
Most likely, the Wildcats will play at Cartwright for one final year. However, if no spectators will be allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is a small chance Edison will decide to play on the new turf.
The new field, which did not have a name when practice began on Aug. 1, is not fully ready. Part of the reason is many workers were affected by the pandemic, thus stalling construction. Only half of the lights were up by early August, and the bleachers are not in place.
“From my understanding, the lights that are up are enough to play a soccer game, but not enough to play a football game,” O’Brien said.
If spectators will be allowed to soccer games, they could stand along the fence or possibly set up their chairs along the new track that surrounds the field.
When the time is right, bleachers from Cartwright will be brought to the new facility on one side and be split. A new press box, concession stand, locker rooms and storage area also are in the works.
“I know the seniors were excited but disappointed at the same time,” O’Brien said. “They have the opportunity to practice here but possibly not to play here. It’s a difficult situation for everybody, and we are all affected by it. We just take it day by day, do what we’re told and get the most out of our opportunities.”
O’Brien added that if it were up to the seniors, most would say they’d rather play in front of their family and friends on Cartwright rather than at the new field with nobody.
Whenever the Wildcats officially move, what was Cartwright Memorial Field will be the place for a new gymnasium. That’s part of the second phase, along with new softball and baseball fields. Those could be ready by as soon as 2022.
“In a sense, we’ll use it as a new, symbolic chapter for us. But, last year was in the past, and we’re just looking forward,” O’Brien said.