After acknowledgements to donors and the many members of the community who helped on the campaign, hundreds of athletes from all over the community will flood the new field at 6:30 p.m.
After nearly two years of fundraising, the campaign committee is just $40,000 short of its $1.1 million dollar goal to install the new synthetic turf field at the 2,000-student high school. The 40-year-old soccer/track/football/general purpose grass field was completed over the summer; a new track circling the multi-use field was also added to the construction plans.
A recent $500,000 gift from the Warkentin Family included $100,000 designated for improvements to the nine-year-old track and the addition of track and field competition space.
Local residents John and Mardi Warkentin contributed the largest gift to the campaign, and the stadium was renamed Warkentin Stadium in their honor. The Warkentin Family is well known in the Santa Barbara sports community. John was a multi-sport high school star athlete in Fresno prior to focusing on the decathlon in college. He was one of the top decathletes in the world and the United States for over a decade with national and world rankings from 1967 to 1979. Mardi Warkentin was the top high school women’s tennis player in the Fresno area during the 1960’s. John and Mardi raised three children, Kara, Mark, and Paul all who attended San Marcos High School. The Warkentin kids were excellent athletes, close to the top in their respective sports in the history of San Marcos High School. Mark represented the USA in the Beijing Olympics in the 10K Open Water swim race. After a USC tennis career, daughter Kara played one season on the WTA (women’s professional tennis circuit) and served several years as the San Marcos girl’s tennis coach. Paul followed his sister and brother as Channel League champion in tennis singles and also attained top U.S. national rankings in tennis.
The fundraising partnership “The Field of Champions Campaign” was forged with the Santa Barbara Soccer Club, San Marcos High School, and community members to achieve the common goal of enhancing the quality of the Sut Puailoa Field at San Marcos High School, used by over 24,000 youth athletes, community groups, coaches, teachers, spectators, and community members a year.
The new turf field eliminates down time due to muddy fields, lack of grass, dangerous holes, and months of re-seeding every year. In addition, the new field will provide operating cost savings, such as a significant reduction of labor costs, chemicals and fuel for mowing, seeding, fertilization, pesticides, irrigation, field preparation, and striping. The environmentally-friendly turf field filler material is made of recycled tires.
Capital campaign committee members include co-chair Rich Ridgway (Investec Real Estate Companies) , co-chair Tim Vom Steeg (UCSB Men’s Soccer Coach), Lorie Bacon, Daniel Brennan MD, Robert Brennan DDS, Jim Crook, Lisa Douglas, Katina Etsell, Ryan Fell, Billy Gallagher, Paul Gamberdella, Tom Gilmore, Mark Hall, Scott Puailoa, Rochelle Rose, Sal Rodriguez, Darcia Stebbens CPA, Heike Venturino, Stewart White DDS, Erik Wipf DDS, Steve Woodward, Abe Jahadhmy (Athletic Director, San Marcos High School), and Dave Odell (President, Santa Barbara Soccer Club).
Anyone interested in contributing to The Field of Champions may contact Scottee Reid at (805) 679-7592, donate on-line at www.thefieldofchampions.com, or mail to TFOC, P.O. Box 60208, Santa Barbara CA 93160. Donations can be earmarked for the turf field or to track improvements.