Don Ketchum
Former Staff Writer,

Firm footing helps athletes in Northern Arizona

August 24, 2010 by Don Ketchum, AZPreps365

by: Don Ketchum
In Northern Arizona, the grass might not always be greener on the other side.
In fact, it might be a bit splotchy, difficult to grow consistently in sandy conditions.
That doesn�t bode well for some of the athletes in the area�s high schools.
So to allow athletes in football, baseball and softball to gain firm footing, some of the schools have put in artificial turf surfaces. Some have been in place for several years, others have recently been added or soon will join the club.
Class 3A Tuba City is putting in baseball and softball surfaces, and hopes to add football soon, according to athletic director James Roe.
�We�re excited, and we think our athletes will like it,�� Roe said.
Monument Valley, a 3A school in Kayenta, recently put in an artificial turf field, and was given a stamp of approval by football coach Bryan Begay.
�You can move around better and I don�t think there will be too many of those �turf burns,� �� Begay said.
3A Ganado has perhaps the best overall setup, with artificial turf football, baseball and softball to go with its 6,000-seat arena, which often is filled with basketball and volleyball fans.
Winslow is one of the football powerhouses in the 3A North. Long-time athletic director Don Petranovich said the players have enjoyed playing on the artificial surface and it contributes to the team�s success.
A couple of Class 2A schools, Red Mesa in the Four Corners area and Keams Canyon Hopi, also have artificial football surfaces.
It figures to save on water bills. When the dust rolls in, just grab a vacuum or a few brooms and go.