As the San Benito High School Varsity Girls field hockey team warmed up for the first official match on the school’s new multi-use physical education and athletic field, a crowd of community members gathered for the formal ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 10.
Marlene Villegas, a physical education teacher, coach and parent of student athletes at the school, came to the ribbon-cutting to support students and the school.
“I have been here 22 years,” Villegas said. “We are excited to have a state of the art facility that can have up to four classes out here.”
SBHS senior Sarah Meza, who has played field hockey at the school since the sport was first offered in her freshman year, has already noticed the benefits of being able to practice on an all-weather field, as opposed to grass.
“Our old field had a lot of holes and it was very hard to control the ball, especially with field hockey where it’s all about smooth fields,” Meza said. “Having this field helps us competitive-wise. We were used to the slow pace of the grass and we would go to schools with turf and they would be doing moves at a higher speed and we couldn’t keep up.”
Villegas echoed Meza’s sentiment about the benefits for sports teams on campus.
“Having an all-weather field allow us to practice year round and allows us to practice on what our competition will be on,” Villegas said.
At the ceremony, athletic director Tod Thatcher explained to the crowd that there are over 1,000 student athletes at San Benito High. Thatcher said the new facility will provide a safe and consistent field for students, and the versatility to have a field hockey game one day and a baseball game the next.
As acknowledged by all who spoke, including San Benito High School District Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum and district board President Steve DeLay, the opening ceremony would not have been possible without the support of San Benito County voters, the school community and participating local businesses.
“It takes the village as a whole,” Varsity Girls field hockey coach Molly Macierz said to the crowd.
Following the ribbon-cutting, the Varsity Girls field hockey team competed against Gilroy High School, as school board members and other interested parties attended groundbreaking ceremonies for the Science and Robotics Building, the Aquatics Center, and Track and Field Stadium.
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