When Spotsylvania County voters approved a bond referendum to install artificial turf at the five high schools in the county, it was met with skepticism from those who weren’t in agreement.

Courtland was the first school to install the turf and the Cougars played football and field hockey on it in the fall.

Decreased field maintenance was one draw of the synthetic field.

Another benefit emerged this week when Courtland was selected to host the upcoming Virginia High School League state field hockey championships in the fall.

Courtland will host the title contests, while the semifinals will be played at Massaponax and Riverbend.

Construction is underway at each of those schools and turf is expected to be installed this spring.

Courtland submitted the bid for the county to host the event and Spotsylvania was awarded the next two years.

The National Field Hockey Training Center in Virginia Beach and South County High were previous sites.

“From the start when we began researching into going the turf field route, the vision was to be able to host events of this nature,” Cougars athletic director Ronnie Lowman said.

Lowman said hosting events such as this should be beneficial to the county. He noted that 16 schools from the four state field hockey classifications and their supporters will dine, shop and lodge in the area for two to three days.

Chancellor, Courtland, Eastern View, James Monroe, Mountain View, North Stafford and Stafford have combined to win 16 state championships and Fredericksburg area teams are regularly a part of the state semifinals and finals.

Lowman said this will cut down on travel expenses for those schools.

“Our local schools won’t have to spend revenue to stay in hotels in other areas,” he said. “They’ll get to stay here and save that money for their kids and their building.”

After Chancellor and Spotsylvania has turf installed, the Chargers and Knights hope to host in 2021. Lowman said the county will see how well it handles field hockey states and use it as a gauge for submitting a bid to host a spring sports jubilee in the future.

The vision is to work with the city of Fredericksburg to secure the Fredericksburg Nationals home field for state baseball games and possibly the University of Mary Washington for tennis. Lowman said Spotsylvania has a “gorgeous softball facility” at Patriot Park.

“We definitely want to see how this goes, get our feet wet and if all goes well we’ll look into it,” Lowman said.

MCGHEE ON THE RISE

Louisa freshman basketball standout Olivia McGhee is garnering national recruiting attention. McGhee picked up a scholarship offer from Boston College last week.

McGhee also holds offers from James Madison, Virginia and Virginia Tech. She’s averaging 18 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists for the Lions this season.

“She’s a special player,” Louisa head coach Nick Schreck said. “She’s a 6-2 point guard that can score at all three levels. She’s probably one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had the privilege to coach.”

McGhee hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Jefferson District star Sam Brunelle who is now a freshman at Notre Dame after a stellar career at William Monroe. Schreck said they have varying styles but McGhee hopes to land at a similar destination.“I know she really looks up to Sam and keeps track of what she’s doing,” Schreck said. “She’s a different type of player than Sam. She’s a bit more athletic. She’s got some years to develop so we’ll see down the road where she ends up.”

CHOWAN SEEKING DOWNS

McGhee isn’t the only area girl earning attention from college coaches lately. Colonial Forge senior point guard Cameren Downs picked up her first scholarship offer last week, from Division II Chowan (N.C.) University.

Downs was the 2018 Free Lance-Star player of the year, and is the Eagles’ all-time leader in points and assists.

ARMY OFFERS RYAN

James Monroe junior Aidan Ryan picked up an offer from Army on Tuesday. It’s the first FBS offer for Ryan. William & Mary offered the standout defensive back and wide receiver a scholarship in the fall.

Ryan was named first team all-Region 3B and All-Area at defensive back.

EAGLES MOVING ON

Several Colonial Forge athletes recently made their college plans official. Volleyball standout Joselyn Jones signed a national letter of intent with Division II Pace University, which is located in New York, last week.

Teammates Sydney Clark and Haley Ann Smalls have committed to Virginia Wesleyan and East Stroudsburg (Pa.), respectively.

Softball standouts Aliyah Smith (Bowie State) and Kayla Stephenson (Shenandoah) are also moving on to the next level. Lailah Daniel will play soccer for Hampton and Patricia Meador will continue her lacrosse career at Bridgewater.

COUGARS MAKE DECISIONS

Three Courtland athletes will continue competing at the Division III level. Baseball standout Ty Lowe will stay close to home at Mary Washington. Soccer standout Kylie Reid is headed to Roanoke College and field hockey’s Caroline Slick will compete for Concordia University Wisconsin.

EAGLES HOSTING SEMINAR

Colonial Forge will host a recruiting seminar on Monday at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. It is open to all current athletes across all sports in grades 8-12.

Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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