Among a myriad additions and renovations to the school’s athletic facilities, the current grass at the site of the Bulldogs’ home football games will be replaced with FieldTurf, the increasingly popular artificial playing surface.
And, no, it won’t be blue like college football’s Boise State.
This year’s graduation will be the first major event held the new surface, Piedmont athletic director and head football coach Steve Smith said.
“I feel like it’s the thing of the future,” Smith said. “We play a lot of games there, and I think we’ll benefit from its multiuse (capability). Our junior high, J.V., and pee-wee teams play there. A lot of times we have to tell those kids that they can’t play on Saturdays because of the field’s conditions or the rain.
“We’ve also talked about having big band competitions there.”
Among the other changes is the current home and visitor’s bleachers will swap to add more room. The new home stands will also house baseball and softball locker rooms beneath, and a lecture room will be added to the field house, as well.
The Bulldogs will have home baseball and softball fields on campus next spring.
“This is something that’s been talked about for several years,” Smith said. “We’ve always been grateful to our parks and rec department for providing us with a place to play, but it’ll be nice to have a place on campus to call home.”
• BUZZING: Jim Presnell said Oxford principal Trey Holladay hired him to guide the Yellow Jackets’ track and field program this past offseason with one goal in mind — returning the program back to what it once was.
Presnell, who coached for 32 years in Tennessee before making his way to Oxford, seems to be on his way to doing just that.
Oxford’s boys and girls team captured the championship at the Carrolton (Ga.) Invitational this past Saturday.
The boys scored 316 points, besting second-place Carrolton Central at the event, which included about 10 teams. The Lady Yellow Jackets finished ahead of Carrolton Central (257) with 238 points.
Victoria Rimpsey turned in a headlining performance, setting school records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes with times of 12.03 and 24.74, respectively. Ryan Greene won the 1,600 and 3,200. Diana Villalobos won the 800 and Ashia Adams placed first in the pole vault.
“We’re progressing,” Presnell said. “We’re starting to come together and all the hard work is about to payoff.”
Jacob Schwyn captured first-place in both the 1,600 and 3,200. Gerald McRath won the 400 and Jacolby Dove won the 800.
Xavier Johnson added a title in the discus. Corey Sears won the pole vault, and Kwon Alexander took the home top-honors in the high-jump.
Alexander, who could possibly be the nation’s top-ranked linebacker next fall, is one of several football players who’ve taken their talents to the track this season.
Along with elite recruit safety Trae Elston, Montevioius Bass, Coty Spurling and Felix Forman are also participating in track this season.
“We’re just trying to build a successful program,” Presnell said.
The Yellow Jackets will be in action again Thursday at Gadsden City, and the Calhoun County track meet is scheduled for Tuesday (April 5) at Jacksonville State.
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.