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Field woes shift tournament

A potential sinkhole at Springstead moves the district to Delta Woods.

By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 22, 2002

SPRING HILL -- The Class 3A, District 7 tournament has been switched to its third venue -- Delta Woods Park in Spring Hill -- after a potential sinkhole was identified at Springstead High.

The tournament, scheduled to start Monday, will be hosted by Central High, but its field is unavailable due to a $275,000 track renovation. The tournament was moved to Springstead, but a second collapse of earth next to that school's field last week has again rendered it unplayable.

"I went over and we looked at it," Central athletic director Vic Cervizzi said, "and we talked to the higher-ups and they said, "No."'

Cervizzi solved his problem with a few calls to county parks and recreation officials. Springstead's solution will be more complicated.

An engineering firm hired by the school system is expected to issue a report to director of facilities Graydon Howe by the end of the week.

Technicians were drilling five test holes and using ground-penetrating radar to determine anomalies below the surface on Monday. The field's proximity to past sinkholes off Mariner Boulevard have Howe concerned, and he said a potential trouble spot had been located Monday morning.

"They identified an area 60 feet by 20 feet as a suspect area," he said. "It's not under the school, but they were going to drill a hole between the track and the east (main) bleachers."

Soccer games were canceled in early January when a hole opened along a drainage system. The system was replaced, only to sag again. "Last Wednesday it settled again," Howe said. "We got in and discovered it and now we believe it collapsed because the ground went out and into a cavity."

Cervizzi chose Delta Woods over Hernando Veterans Memorial Park (also in Spring Hill), he said, because it was a better fit for both his team and his booster club.

"I have to think of my boosters," he said. "They have the concession stand and the sound and all. One thing we need is a portable scoreboard, and we're working on that."

Cervizzi said the tournament will be held at Delta Woods even if Springstead's facility is deemed playable before Monday.

-- Staff writer Brant James can be reached at (800) 333-7505, ext. 1407. Send e-mail to

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