Ceremony held for Maryvale's new athletic fields

The final phase of Maryvale Prep's "In Her Name: A Campaign for Maryvale," a multi-phase capital project at the Brooklandville school in honor of late student Erinn McCarthy, culminated Tuesday when Archbishop William Lori blessed the school's new $2 million athletic fields.

"I feel absolutely thrilled with the fields, the track and the building together," said Bill McCarthy, a Lutherville resident who co-chaired the campaign's executive committee in honor of his daughter, Erinn.

"There's something in this project for everyone that touches the daily life of every girl that attends Maryvale, so whether you're in athletics, track, field hockey, lacrosse or interested in the arts — be it theater or the graphic arts — there's something here for you," McCarthy said.

Tuesday's ceremony centered on the school's new artificial turf field and surrounding track, as well as a new softball field and practice fields.

The years-long project has been a labor of love for the McCarthys after the loss of their 14-year-old daughter.

McCarthy and his wife, Maria, led the $12 million capital project at the request of their daughter, Erinn, who died in 2007 of a form of bone cancer. Erinn, a freshman at Maryvale at the time, asked her parents to do something positive for the school in her memory.

Last spring, the school unveiled the $7 million Erinn McCarthy Humanities Hall, which features a 500-seat auditorium, six classrooms, music rooms and a sacristy.

Though the lacrosse team was able to play on the new turf field once last season, construction on the track and surrounding practice fields kept players off the fields for two years until this fall.

The track was completed last summer with the rest of the fields finished in March.

Caroline Federico, a 17-year-old senior goalkeeper for the Maryvale lacrosse team, said having a home field after two years on the road to accommodate construction on the fields has meant a lot to the team, which is 9-2 this season.

The entire capital campaign has transformed the campus since she arrived at the school.

"It gives you a lot more pride," Federico said. "We've grown so much from (the campaign) and it makes you feel blessed to be part of a community that provides this for you."

The new athletic fields also include a new scoreboard, which was donated by the family of Edward and Marie Mitchell. The Mitchell family has 60 years of history at Maryvale, and all eight of the Mitchell girls played sports at one point or another, P.J. Mitchell said. Mitchell, herself a member of Maryvale's Class of 1965, said it was a "natural thing" to donate money for the scoreboard.

Mitchell's niece, Megan Huether, Class of 2002 was the keynote speaker at Tuesday's dedication ceremony and gave a speech about how her time on Maryvale's field (which, she said was a "dustbowl" during her years at the school) shaped her future at Duke University and on the U.S. National Team.

Tracey Ford, the school's first-year president, said the improvements have been "so long overdue" for the deserving school community.

"Until this point, its programs were spectacular and now it has facilities to match them," Ford said. "I'm just so happy for the girls, the coaches and the faculty who have been here for so long."

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