Junior varsity softball field built

OPHS complies with Title IX

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A junior varsity softball field was added to the lower field to allow the girls’ softball team have fields for both teams rather than sharing one field and to adhere with Title IX.

This new addition to the softball program updates Oak Park High School’s facilities for compliance with Title IX, which enforces equal opportunity, regardless of gender.

“We did a Title IX assessment, looked at all our facilities and tried to determine what was lacking. The big [issue] was that we had two baseball fields and one softball field,” Assistant Principal Jason Meskis said.

While facilities are now up to par, OPHS is still working towards having an equal number of boys and girls playing sports. For instance, at OPHS, there are more boys playing sports than girls, but, according to Meskis, the number gap has been closing over time; there were 509 male athletes and 404 female athletes for the 2017-2018 school year.

According to Meskis, because of the new field this will be the first year that varsity and junior varsity softball will both be able to have their games on campus on the same day.

In past years, the softball program either used the OPHS field for both teams or would send the junior varsity team to Valley View park.

However, according to varsity softball head coach Mike Best, since the majority of the junior varsity team cannot drive, there were issues in the past getting the girls to the off-campus practices.

When the two teams shared the field, they spent half of the time on the field and the other half doing batting practice. With the use of the lower field, all players have more field time during practices.

“Now, varsity can sit there for two hours and use the field the whole time and the same with JV and their field,” Best said. “[It will be] a better practice and more [repetitions] for both teams.”

Some softball players are “excited” for the upcoming season with two fields and more training time. The coaching staff is grateful as well.

“I’m really excited for JV,” sophomore Taylor Spradling said.

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