Culver City Observer -

Culver Athletic Director Proud Of Facilities Upgrade


Fred Altieri

Middle school summer soccer played on new athletic field

By Fred Altieri

Sports Reporter

The summer of 2015 has not been a vacation for the Culver City High School athletic department and its athletic facilities. And that's a good thing... for the administration, the hundreds of Centaur student athletes as well as the middle school programs and outside permitted clubs.

The new synthetic lacrosse and multi-purpose field is finally complete and has been in use since June. The fall teams and most other programs have been practicing throughout the campus all summer with short breaks coming soon before a final two-week push before school begins on August 24.

Culver City High athletic director Tom Salter gave a rundown on the progress: "We have what we're calling the lacrosse field, a brand new synthetic field. Boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls lower lever soccer will be playing there.

"All P.E. classes will be using it, middle school and high school. The middle school lacrosse and soccer programs will be here. And a lot of the youth permitted outside clubs will be using this field. Football will be practicing on it. We have so many teams practicing that this field will be used from morning until night.

"The field took about a year to get done. They've worked real hard at it and we're happy with it. With the scoreboard it's first-class and the updated facilities at Culver City High School and Middle School are just phenomenal."

There are also upgrades being completed on several other facilities according to Salter: "We'll have bleachers installed at the new field that will seat about 300 people for games and for classes. For the football field they're doing ADA compliance, handicap access, for the bleachers on both sides.

"The softball field is all up and done. And for baseball the same thing, they're doing minor work over there to get everything ready. The fields have been in use since spring and we're real happy with those fields. The batting cages are up for both softball and baseball.

"The tennis courts are going to get resurfaced next year along with new windscreens. There's work being done in the gym. We're getting the weight rooms upgraded in both the high school and middle school.

"This year both practice fields that were just reseeded will be open in the middle of September. So by the middle of September we'll have all the teams practicing on first-class facilities. It's good times around here."

The school's multiple facility upgrades over the past few years have required the coaches and students to come up with innovative ways to prepare for their seasons but it's been worth the wait said Salter: "It was not an easy year for facility space for the P.E. classes.

"The teachers had to be real creative in where to have P.E. class. And teams had to deal with a lot of field closures. It was not an easy year but the coaches worked hard and the players adjusted and it all worked out."

Perhaps the most consistent asset to the athletic programs has been the quality and experience of the head coaches and their staffs. That strength was highlighted with the recent retirement of long-time softball head coach John Sargent who notably served the program for 25 years.

The current list Culver High head coaches and their time of service including the upcoming school year: Nestor Dordoni will be starting his 36th year as head coach of boys and girls waterpolo and boys and girls swimming; football: Jamal Wright – 7th year; boys and girls cross country: Tom Fritzius – 8th; boys and girls tennis: Phil Rothenberg – 16th.

Joe Manzo will be starting his fourth year as head coach in girls volleyball and sixth year in boys volleyball; boys basketball: Adam Eskridge – 4th year; girls basketball: Julian Anderson – 4th; boys soccer: Louie Espeleta – 4th; girls soccer: Scott Mair – 10th; baseball: Rick Prieto – 22nd.

Casey Chabola will be starting his 17th year as boys lacrosse head coach; girls lacrosse: Liz Vacovec – 2nd year; boys track and field: Jamal Wright – 11th; girls track: Rayfield Beaton – 3rd; golf: Don Polito – 2nd. The school will be hiring for the position of head coach for the softball program.

Salter noted the three Teams of the Year for 2104-15: "The Girls Team of the Year was track with Coach Beaton and cheerleading with Lindsey Farris. The Boys Team of the Year was tennis with Phil Rothenberg.

"Sean Jenkins and Paige Shakeri will be taking over for Lindsey Farris as the cheer teams head coaches. Paige helped Lindsey out two years ago. Lindsey was the head coach for five years and did a tremendous job. And she still helps out both coaches with the transition."

Salter previewed the upcoming Centaur fall programs: "The football team is having a good summer and working hard. We have a very young team but it's going to be an exciting year.

"I see a lot of growth during the year and think as the season goes they're going to get better with every game. We had an outstanding freshman class last year. They were 9-1 so the future is real bright for football.

"Girls tennis had a good summer this year working. They're going to improve next year in terms of wins and losses and overall they always do an outstanding job.

"Boys water polo came into the playoffs last year for the first time in a few years. They have a good strong returning group so I expect good things from Coach Dordoni's squad.

"The cross country program is doing something new this year. They will be going to Mammoth Mountain for high altitude training in August. A lot of cross country teams train up there. I think that's really going to help them and I'm impressed with their hard work and effort.

Fred Altieri

Workers upgrade football stadium bleachers for handicap access

"The girls volleyball team has been defending champs for two years in a row and coach Joe Manzo has a good nucleus coming back. I expect girls volleyball to have another strong season this year.

'What I'm very happy with is that all the coaches have worked real hard and the years of service they've given to Culver City High School. That's a lot of coaches with a lot of experience. They do a fantastic job and we're happy with all the programs.

"Our big goal for each kid is to have a great experience playing high school athletics. With these coaches working with their young student athletes we're accomplishing that."


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