Weekly Feature

2012-05-23 / Sports

Sweet Home three-peats Field of Excellence award

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

For the third straight year, the Sweet Home athletics fields have been honored.

Sweet Home was recipient of Pioneer Athletics’ 2011 Field of Excellence Award, an award that honors outstanding athletic fields and the field crews who diligently maintain them.

Sweet Home was one of 91 schools nation-wide to earn the distinction. There were close to 300 entries.

“We’re the only school in New York to ever win two times, let alone three times,” said Dale Peterman, Sweet Home’s director of grounds. “To do it three in a row is pretty special for us.”

Sweet Home earned the award for its work on Robert P. Barczak Stadium for the Panthers’ homecoming football game against Starpoint on Sept. 24.

The award is more impressive because Peterson had one less laborer because of budget cuts. Joining Peterman were groundsmen Dave Kler, Mark Yearke, Mauro Belluz and Roger Belling.

“Everyone was wondering if we were still going to do it because of budget cuts,” Peterson said. “That is why of the three times we have won it, this is by far probably the one I’m most proud of.”

This year’s winning entry included dueling helmets in Sweet Home colors facing each other at midfield, an idea Peterman got from Lancaster’s grounds crew, and a large SH logo with a Panther jumping through it in both end zones.

Peterson said decorating the field took between 22 to 24 hours over two days.

Sweet Home will receive a certificate of recognition and an Fields of Excellence banner from Pioneer Athletics to display at its winning field.

Peterman said the award was made possible by the support of the athletic department, administration and the board of education.

Peterson made it clear that just because they win the award for the homecoming football game, they try to provide the best fields for all of Sweet Home’s other sports.

Peterson and the athletic teams are involved in a player ownership program where if student-athletes take ownership of the fields and help him and his grounds crew by picking up garbage and fixing divots in the ground, they will try to provide the best fields in Western New York and in the state.

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