Oakcrest lacrosse denied access to football field

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EGG HARBOR CITY – The green, green grass of home won’t seem like too much of a home for the Oakcrest High School varsity lacrosse teams for the foreseeable future, district officials said.

Greater Egg Harbor Regional School district officials told Oakcrest boys varsity coach Lee Parks that the varsity team will only be allowed to play two games a season on the high school football field. The same is true for the girls squad.

Parks attended the board’s Jan. 23 meeting to continue his fight to get the team a place to play on one of Oakcrest’s fields.

“I want to know why we can’t play on the football field,” said Parks, who has been instrumental in the Falcons lacrosse program since its 2007 inception. “I’ve never received a straight answer.”

Parks argued that the varsity lacrosse team has as much right to play on the stadium field as the varsity and junior varsity football teams do.

There is one problem with that, according to GEHR Superintendent Steve Chicariello.

“The grass needs time to rest,” he said. “It needs time to grow.”

Chicariello, board President John R. Houck Sr. and Business Administrator Charles Muller all said the experts they talked to agree that the fields cannot withstand a season of spring sports and remain sturdy enough to survive the pounding from a full football campaign.

So Parks had his answer, Chicariello said.

Chicariello, Houck and Muller also expressed their wishes that Oakcrest had enough playing fields for all of the school’s varsity and junior varsity programs.

The lacrosse Falcons played their home games at the nearby William J. Davies Middle School in 2011.

In other news, Muller told the board that conditions have improved along bus routes in the Nesco section of Mullica Township and in the South Egg Harbor City portion of Galloway. At a previous meeting, parents had complained about buses running late.

The board rescheduled its next two meetings to 7 p.m. Feb. 13 and Feb. 27, both at Oakcrest High School.

Muller said the meetings would better coincide with the timing of the release of the state’s school aid figures and the district’s push to prepare and introduce its next budget.

The board also heard a Share the Keys safe driving presentation by Cedar Creek High School students Zach Zachowski and Francesca Ruth.

Zachowski urged all parents and children to enter a “life contract” in which the parent agrees to pick up the child with no questions asked, and the child agrees to call for help if faced with a difficult or dangerous situation.

“You can even agree on a code word,” he said, “so your friends won’t know you are calling your parents for help.”


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