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Greensburg Salem may restart field hockey

| Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, 12:58 a.m.

Greensburg Salem school directors indicated a willingness to restart the field hockey program after about 30 parents and students appealed to board members to do so during a meeting on Wednesday.

“The nutshell is, if you have the kids, we'll pay for a team,” President Nat Pantalone said, adding later, “Hopefully we can give you girls that opportunity (to play).”

Directors will formally vote on restarting the program next Wednesday. They indicated support for re-establishing it with nods of their heads or comments during last night's meeting, a non-voting session.

Before that can happen, directors want to see how many girls are interested in participating and whether the sport can be reinstated with the WPIAL.

Last month, directors voted to disband the program after too few girls completed forms for physicals, Pantalone said.

“The decision was made because there were only four kids that turned in a paper,” he added.

Seventeen girls indicated they wanted to participate during a meeting Tuesday night, said Deb Taylor, co-president of the field hockey booster club.

Girls didn't sign up or get physicals because a coach wasn't hired to replace Sylvia Guerrieri, who moved to Virginia, said junior player Victoria Shepherd.

“We didn't know if we had a team,” she added.

Director Frank Gazze said he supports restarting the program.

“We have the money in the budget to reinstate it,” Gazze added.

Some administrators expressed concerns about girls getting injured because they lacked the skills necessary to compete against more seasoned teams.

Players said they didn't anticipate a problem.

James Albert, who has sponsored field hockey programs, said he contacted WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley. O'Malley indicated a willingness to reinstate the team if the district sponsored the sport, Albert said.

“He needs a letter to that effect, and he has no problem reinstating,” Albert added.

WPIAL officials require teams to compete with school sponsorship. Greensburg Salem played as a club squad for three years before the school district began sponsoring the team in 2004.

Shepherd questioned why letters weren't sent to players letting them know about the need to seek physicals.

Athletic Director Lynn Jobe accepted the blame and apologized to the players.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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