Columbus East football fans who haven’t been to Stafford Field since last fall will find the place a little different Friday night.
What was the home side of the field is now the visitors side. New bleachers have been put in place for home fans on the west side of the field and are ready to be used in Friday’s season opener against Bloomington North.
East football coach and athletics director Bob Gaddis said a new concession stand on the home side should be ready by the middle of the season. In the meantime, temporary concessions and restrooms will be available on the home side, along with the existing ones on the visitors side.
The new locker room facility on the south side of the field is still under construction. Gaddis said it could be ready by November.
Gaddis said home fans can enter the west or northwest gates. Visiting fans can enter the southeast gate.
“It looks great out there,” Gaddis said. “We’re hoping we have a good turnout of fans. Our players are excited about being on the new home side.
“It’s a work in progress, though,” he said. “It’s still under construction. But we’re excited about being out there on Friday.”
Conference to hold tourneys
With the addition of Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South to Conference Indiana this season, seven sports will go to divisional play, with a conference tournament determining placings.
For volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys tennis in the fall and baseball, softball and girls tennis in the spring, Columbus North will be in the East Division, along with Franklin Central, Perry Meridian and Southport. Bloomington North and South and the two Terre Haute schools will be in the West Division.
Teams will play regular-season contests against each of the three division opponents to determine seeds for a two-round tournament that will decide first through fourth and fifth through eighth places.
East to host volleyball invite
The East volleyball team, which made a run to the state’s final four in Class 4A last year, will open the season with a three-team invitational Saturday.
The Olympians will play Terre Haute South at 10 a.m. Terre Haute South and Bloomington North will meet at around 11:30 or noon, and East will face Bloomington North around 1:30 p.m.
“We’re kind of fighting the injury bug at the beginning of the season,” East coach Faith Wilder-Newland said. “Most of our hitters are healthy. We’re just trying to get everybody healthy at the same time, which is a chore for us.
“We’re one of the most athletic teams that I’ve coached,” she said. “One of the things we’re looking for is improvement in our serving and passing games.”
Lancers off to fast start
After winning only five games last season, the Edinburgh volleyball team is well on its way to eclipsing that mark.
The Lancers began the season with victories over Jac-Cen-Del and Oldenburg Academy Monday and Tuesday. Edinburgh finished 5-27 last year, but returned all of its players.
“We’ve just been working to learn the game and to be fundamentally sound,” Edinburgh coach Tina Bottorff said. “Last year, even though we only won five games, we thought it was a good year in terms of growth. The girls are a little bit more mature this year, and they’re doing things right.”
Tennis match pushed back
East’s boys tennis match against Greenwood scheduled for today has been moved back to 5 p.m.
Ted Schultz is a sports writer for The Republic. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.