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Amherst’s Turf Field is Star of Postseason

Buffalo, NY– There will be all sorts of champions crowned this week in Western New York high school sports. But when it comes to the host with the most, it’s not even close. In a very busy week of high school playoffs, no place will be busier than Amherst High School’s Dimp Wagner Alumni Field. The turf surface will host 17 playoff games this week in boys soccer, girls soccer and field hockey. There will be a total of nine Section VI championships followed by eight regional games. “You feel like you’re flying by the seat of your pants, but somehow we get it done,” said Amherst Athletics Director Nancy Riccio. “All the credit goes to the staff. I think my secretary [Mary Biesinger] is ready to kill me. She’s the one who really gets everything together. My girls soccer coach [Joanna Fildes] and field hockey coach [Jen Higgins] have been great.” Amherst will host games every day from Monday to Saturday. The first three days featured a combination of field hockey and soccer games, a unique option for high school sports fans and a lineup that could only be handled by the school’s 2-year-old A-Turf field, which is made from polyethylene fiber. The Far West Regionals – which pit the Section VI champions against the winners of Section V (Rochester) for the right to advance to the state final four – take over Thursday (three field hockey games), Friday (two boys soccer games) and Saturday (three boys soccer games). The sectional soccer games were always scheduled to be held at Amherst, but last month’s storm pushed finals originally scheduled for last weekend to this week. Amherst and sectional officials like Chris Durr (girls soccer) and Jude Otto (field hockey) planned the soccer games around the field hockey ones. “We all sat down and this was the way we wanted to organize it all, and they just made sure it all got done,” said Riccio, who said the school receives a fee from the section to cover maintenance of the field. “We’re proud of the field – we’re hoping other districts will be able to have a venue like ours.”

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