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School’s sports facilities receive needed upgrades

Dylan Berry, Staff writer

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Although students might not always notice it, improvements are always being made to the school’s athletic facilities.  Keeping up with the facilities involves more than just mowing the grass on the fields, and this year, several major changes have taken place.

One of the upgrades was made by the athletic booster club, and it included new seating for its members at home basketball games. New and old members of the athletic booster club were given the opportunity to sit in reserved cushioned seats in front of the first row of bleachers.

“The athletic booster club is trying to incorporate ideas to help create awareness to students, parents and teachers to get involved with our athletic programs,” booster club president  Missy McPherson said.  “By adding the booster club seating it gave fans a way to support athletics with their donation and a comfortable chair to enjoy the games.”

The addition of backboard lights to the basketball backboards were made to meet high school and college specifications. The backboard lights will also help the referees get a better idea of when the ball leaves the shooters hand. Once these lights were added, they then met game requirements for lighting.

“The backboard lights installed by Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Metzinger are just one of the many upgrades they have made to our overall athletic facilities over the past year,” boy’s basketball coach Ralph Clever said.  “The backboard lights allow for the referees, players, and coaches to better determine when, and if a shot is released in the time before the buzzer goes off. They also look good!”

The renovation of the softball and soccer field surfaces took place late last year to make a safer playing field for our athletes. Athletic Director Alfie Wheeler and assistant athletic director Jimmy Metzinger were the ones that made the decision to fill in the holes on the fields.

“We want our athletes to play on nice surfaces so they will take pride in playing for Manteo,” Metzinger said.  “In the past 4 years since Wheeler and I have been working on the facilities, other schools in our conference are starting to improve theirs.  I spent countless hours in the month of June working on resurfacing and shoveling the fields.  A lot of changes have happened in the past few years and there are a lot more in the works.”

The last major change was to the school’s tennis courts. Back in 1983, when the school moved to its current location, the new facility included five new tennis courts; however, lights were not part of the plan. Principal John Luciano helped push for lights when he first became principal in the fall of 2006, but there was never enough money in the budget to do it until this year.

“It [has been] a priority,” Luciano said. “Capital Improvement money, which is money for a permanent structural change or the restoration of some aspect of a property, [was needed to] pay for the lights.”

The lights were installed in November, and the newly formed men’s tennis team will be the first school team to enjoy them. In addition to the school’s athletic teams, community members will be able to take advantage of the new lights. The lights will be put on a timer so that people only have to hit a button to cut them on and they will cut off automatically. They will stay on for about 30 minutes.

In addition to the new lights, the tennis courts also added a new hitting wall. It was installed after the women’s season last year, so the men’s tennis team will be the first group to use it.

“Lots of courts have them because it is a good way to practice alone,” former women’s tennis coach Lindsay Daniels said. “I am very excited that they are there for the tennis program. I think it will really help it grow. Now that [the school] has a boys and girls team, the players can go practice by themselves in the off season.”

These upgrades benefit more the school and the community, and more improvements are in the works for the future.

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School’s sports facilities receive needed upgrades