Manti soccer field now open for use
MANTI— Years ago Merrill and Doris Cox donated a portion of their land to Manti High School for the construction of a soccer field, and after years of negotiating, engineering and construction the field is finally ready for play.
“We really do listen to what parents, students and the public want,” George Henrie, Manti High principal, said. “They wanted a new soccer field here at home, and we did everything we could to make that a reality.”
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held between the Lady Templars Junior Varsity and Varsity soccer games played on Thursday, Sept. 1.
School board president David Warren had the honor of cutting the ribbon to commemorate the new playing field and each senior player cut a piece of the ribbon to have as a keepsake.
Since soccer became sanctioned nine years ago, students have had to travel to Ephraim for practices and games.
Initially, the softball fields at the north end of Ephraim served as the playing ground for the soccer teams. This created a challenge for players because a portion of the field was covered by infield mix, the soil mixture used around the bases, which made portions of the playing surface slippery and less than ideal for playing soccer on .
Eventually the soccer teams navigated to the Ephraim Middle School field where they met more challenges. Henrie said the ground was not only bumpy and uneven, but also was angled east to west, making it difficult for players to see against the sun’s glare.
Parents and students made little complaint about shuttling back and forth from Ephraim, but Henrie said it became taxing on administration.
“When we have several different sports games going on, we need more administrators,” Henrie said about administrative supervision, “We need them at all locations.”
While the ground donated by the Cox family provided an opportunity to create a field, South Sanpete School District Superintendant Kent Larsen said the total area did not suffice.
Adjacent to the donated land was a lot with an old vacant home on it. Larsen said it took several years to negotiate with the owners in order to reach the point of purchasing the property to incorporate additional square footage for a full size field.
Not only did an insufficient amount of land and an old home stand in the way of constructing a soccer field, but a pond on the grounds created yet another challenge for the district.
Because such obstacles stood in the way, Larsen said local contractors were hired to engineer a professional scale soccer field.
Barton Excavating of Ephraim and Cluff Building and Fencing, LLC of Manti made up part of the construction crew, and Warren said they also had the best interest of students at heart—a reason the field is what it is today.
“The field now has the appropriate underlay, it has the appropriate soil mix, and the appropriate grass for a soccer field,” Larsen said. “It’s as if it were a REAL Salt Lake field.”
With soccer becoming more popular, coaches are seeing a more diverse group of students playing sports. Larsen says it’s gotten to the point where soccer has boomed in both Gunnison and Manti.
Finally, the Templars have a home field to accommodate such rapid growth.