Construction began last week at Harford Tech on a project that will drastically change the school's athletic program. Harford Tech athletic director Mike Woods and county supervisor of athletics Ken Zorbach confirmed that work has started on a $3.5 million project to build a stadium with field turf, install a track, baseball field and two practice fields, and convert a baseball field into a softball field.
Construction started Wednesday, to the delight of Harford Tech coaches and supporters. The school has never had a track or football stadium and always needs to find different venues to practice. Funding for the project was approved a few months ago.
The lack of facilities has made life tough for those participating in athletics at the school.This spring, for example, the Harford Tech softball, baseball and lacrosse teams are going to Harford Community College for some practices and games. Some junior varsity teams use the nearby Churchville Recreation site because there's not enough fields at the school.
Those days will be gone.
"It's huge," Zorbach said. "For the first time ever, they're going to have a stadium field with stands and a track. They [won't] have to travel to different places to practice."
Zorbach and Woods expect the football stadium to be ready late in the 2008 season, giving the Cobras a chance for a homecoming game, tentatively set for late October. They're also optimistic that the track will be ready next spring.
The track team is most affected by the lack of facilities at the school. It often went across the street to Harford Community College to run, but that had to change this year because HCC took out its track.
The Cobras now go to Havre de Grace about once a week to get some work in there, along with HCC and other sites for different types of training. It keeps coach Michael Griffith on his toes.
When training at Harford Tech, the runners work on the various fields and can't train on tracks like other teams in the county.
"The biggest problem with drawing athletes to our program is they don't get to see us perform," Griffith said. "This will give the student body a chance to seeyou, and it will be like that for all sports."
Harford Tech has had plenty of success in different sports in recent seasons -- the boys track team even won its division of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference last year despite not having a track to run on.
"It's finally going to put us on a par with the rest of the state," Woods said. "To me, it's going to be a huge boost for school spirit. Night games, homecoming -- our kids have not experienced that at a game. They see it when they go to other places. Now they'll finally get to have one of their own."
John Carroll girls lacrosse -- The Patriots showed they're for real with an 18-9 rout of then-No. 1 Mount Hebron at Johns Hopkins on April 5. The victory catapulted John Carroll into the top spot in the rankings.