DERRY — What started as a 96-field contest on Twitter has resulted in a local high school being tops when it comes to having the best playing field for football.
Pinkerton Academy was named the grand champion in the first ever AstroTurf Fan Favorite High School Football Field Contest.
The Derry high school was among many schools across the nation hoping to win and after six total rounds and thousands of votes cast, Pinkerton advanced to the top three along with schools in Kentucky and Ohio to be considered for the big win.
Photos of fields across the nation were posted on the social media site and fans could vote for their favorites.
The voting remained tight until the very end with only a few dozen votes being the difference from first and third place.
Pinkerton then came out on top, giving the school’s Memorial field the big win for its turf playing space.
“We are thrilled that Memorial Field was selected as the AstroTurf Ultimate Fan Favorite High School Football Field,” said Pinkerton Headmaster Timothy Powers. “Through the hard work of many volunteers, money was raised by donations to build it. We are so proud of what this field represents, and it has been rewarding to see our student-athletes have the opportunity to play on it.”
The idea of bringing turf fields to Pinkerton started several years ago,
That first effort and the formation of a committee of parent supporters led to a major capital campaign at Pinkerton, charged with examining the best use of space on the campus.
That led to the official dedication of the bright green, synthetic turf Memorial Field last year, the main spot for Pinkerton football. A second turf field was constructed to replace field hockey and softball fields.
The field itself is an AstroTurf 3D3 synthetic turf system with AstroTurf’s RootZone, a sub-layer of crimped fibers that stabilizes the infill and increases shock absorbency. The turf has a 52-ounce face weight with dense stitching, all combining to make a synthetic turf that is stronger, safer, better, and more resilient. Pinkerton’s field was installed by Certifified AstroTurf Distributor, Atlantic Sports Group of Canton, Mass., installed Pinkerton’s field.
Pinkerton Academy was founded in 1814 and is the largest independent high school in the United States, with more than 3,300 students and more than 500 faculty and staff members.
First American in space and one of Pinkerton’s most famous graduates, Alan B.Shepard Jr., is the reason the school’s teams are named “The Astros,” with 23 sports offered over 65 teams, and approximately 1,300 student athletes participating each year.
Pinkerton Athletic Director and coach Brian O’Reilly thanked all the fans that supported the field win as well as the sports programs.
A teacher and coach for four decades, O’Reilly said during the dedication last year he could only dream the school would one day have fields like this. He thanked everyone for their support.
“Many thanks to the tremendous fan support our community has consistently demonstrated in supporting Pinkerton Academy and its athletic programs. Our continued success throughout the years is a direct reflection of this support,” O’Reilly said. “Our new AstroTurf fields have had an immediate impact on our athletic programs. The tremendous branding element for our school (end zones and logos that pop with dazzling colors) and quality of turf (multi-use for all of our outdoor sports) have increased our numbers and brought our community closer together.”
Pinkerton Academy celebrates several former athletic standouts including U.S.A. women hockey gold medalist Tricia Dunn and Stanley Cup champion Zach Sanford.