Raising the playing field: Carlisle’s new turf field increases athletic opportunity


Kennedy Beates

The Carlisle High School’s turf field has been installed across from Ken Millen Stadium. Utilizing the field are the school’s soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse teams which sometimes leads to later practices and games.

For years, Carlisle High School sports teams have had to deal with inconsistent care of their grass fields. They have also had to face the embarrassment of their opponents, who for the most part all play on turf, visit the uneven and hole-filled grass. Luckily, the school’s teams will no longer have to feel embarrassed of the surface that they play on. 

Last December, the CASD school board approved phase one of a three-phase athletic field project which detailed all that was needed for the installation of turf for our student athletes. 

Now that the new synthetic turf field has been installed, the sports teams have been able to compete at a similar level to their opponents who have had turf for years. 

“It is going to take some of our competitive advantage away from our visitors because now we will be training the same way they are,” said Carlisle’s Athletic Director, George Null. “Now, it is going to allow us to use more tactical strategies to be more competitive with other schools.”

Facing a minor setback in the delivery of the turf to the school, the project’s installation was wrapped up around the estimated time. With the field finally being installed, the school’s fall sports teams have begun to utilize the new surface after the long awaited arrival. 

Carlisle School Board Vice President Anne Lauritzen said, “Once the groundwork began, the process was about four months and has stayed on track with the exception of a brief delay in the turf delivery. The process went very smoothly, there was additional rock removal but no significant set-backs.” 

There is a big difference between grass and turf, allowing me to dribble and eliminate faster.

— Junior Reagan Rose

The first team on the turf was girls field hockey for a practice on September 21. The field hockey team has already seen significant improvement over the last couple of seasons. Consequently, the Lady Herd has made district playoffs this year for the first time in twelve years. 

The first game played on the turf was girls soccer on September 26 securing a 3-2 victory over Chambersburg on the new field. 

Amongst the excitement about the installation and start of something new, there is also excitement for the new opportunities unfolding because of the surface. The implementation of the turf will allow sports that play on the surface to play at a faster and more intense level for the games they love. 

“There is a big difference between grass and turf, allowing me to dribble and eliminate faster,” said junior field hockey player Reagan Rose.

College coaches and scouts tend to only look at athletes who play on a turf surface, with the field now in place, CHS athletes will get the recognition they deserve. The new surface will also allow CHS to host playoff/championship games and tournaments. 

Another complication that has risen due to the construction and installment of the turf is the closure of Bellaire Drive, which started on June 13. This closure has left many individuals frustrated, as it adds to traffic congestion throughout the day by forcing alternate travel routes to and from the school. 

“While we are aware it is an inconvenience, drivers have found other ways to get around the campus,” said Lauritzen. “First responder vehicles always have access in case of emergency. The board and administration will continue to review and assess the road closure.” 

The installment of the turf field is only step one, still left from this phase are the updates to the tennis courts. The school board has not yet approved the other phases of the project, but has been considering new tennis courts, turf on the football field, new locker rooms and restrooms, additional concession stands, improved bleachers at the turf field, and continuous updates to the grass fields. 

Overall, the turf will provide numerous opportunities for the student athletes of Carlisle. The success of the field may not be measurable right away, but the improved quality of the surface should allow for an improved quality of play over time.